Let's take a moment and think about one of the crunchiest things that we have waited to bite with zeal. Hmm! It is finally here, at our doorstep, and yes I am talking about Polaroid. They are back in the market or have they always been there! cannot quite tell. It is like something that was swallowed by a big monster that could not quite stomach it and so it just decided to spit it out. The technology behind the Polaroid camera can only be described using two words, instant gratification.
Invented in 1946 by Edwin H. Land, the polaroid even after more than six centuries in existence still rules as one of the most recognizable inventions on earth (KAPLAN, 2008). It is no wonder that the hip hop artist, Andre 3000 decided to include the lyrics shake it like a Polaroid picture in his megahit Hey Ya in as late as 2003, and even the younger generation did not even have to ask what it meant. Since its introduction into the market by the Fujifilm company, it has continued to reign over instant photography. Though many considered it an overnight inception, it has grown over the years so much so that it now boasts of a two billion dollars worth business a year. The company has established an edge over other producers emerging a successful competitor, and this may remain the same till the very end.
Looking back at history, we realize that the photographers in the seventies shot close to a billion Polaroid photographs each year. The whole business, however, has almost vanished in the recent years. One cannot help nod their heads with disappointment when they imagine, the kind of tidal change that may have occurred with the introduction of digital cameras around the year 2000. The artists were quick to bring in photographic films that became a specialty item almost instantly.
Some of you may wonder why the excitement about the re-introduction of the polaroids. Well, for one let me break it down to you the problems that befell the company and even led to its untimely collapse. The years that preceded the introduction of digital cameras were tough regarding finances and the eight years between 2001 to 2009 saw the company declared bankrupt and even exchange hands for a record three times. One of its buyers even went to prison for a fraud case. The Polaroid film was then suspended indefinitely in 2008. That is why its reintroduction elicits a lot of excitement from the people who adore this technology. One of the things that you must understand is that all digital pictures are still instant photos. Polaroid photography allowed a person to see what they had done immediately. For instance, if you found out that the picture was blurred, overexposed or even poorly framed, it was possible to reshoot the whole thing again.
Before the grand return of the polaroid cube or the 8 x 10, many observers had termed it as an impossible project (Bonanos, 2012). This, was largely attributed to the fact that all the models were destroyed when the company shut down and therefore any efforts to revive it would be futile. The company, however, decided to put more focus on the production of an integral film that was up to the standards expected by their consumers. Their task was however bound to be a tough one since they had lost all their machines and acquiring new ones would incur extra costs that were unwarranted at the time.
The Polaroid Land Company, however, got their breakthrough when one machine produced an 8-by-10-inch film, unaided. This was their largest format that they had sold in stores yet. The film was a unique peel-apart format, whose processing was finalized in the motorized desktop machine. As a matter of fact, the Impossible as the production equipment was nicknamed debuted its black and white 8 x 10 film for sale. Though different from the 803 prototype, it is still being sold in the same boxes that have been relabeled. One of the notable improvements is that one does not have to worry about shielding the film as was done with the other smaller formats.
The price range of fifteen frames is about $99 to the customers who prefer the Impossible Pioneer level. Whats more is that the company has promised to avail not one but two of the new large-formats instant films in the coming years, a major improvement that was never realized at the time when Polaroid was in use. The thing about such vintage techs is that they are so valuable and can only be compared to antiques that you feel like showing off to your friends but at the same time you do not want anyone to touch them. Owning a Polaroid camera makes a person feel like sage, I mean it is one of those enviable things that makes a person feel like they are entitled to it.
Bonanos, C. (2012). INSTANT: THE STORY OF POLAROID. www.Polaroidland.net. Retrieved 6 May 2016, from http://www.polaroidland.net/2012/07/01/the-return-of-8x10/
KAPLAN, M. (2008). POLAROIDS: MAPPLETHORPE BY SYLVIA WOLF. The Art Book, 15(3), 66-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8357.2008.00979.x
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