Look What Just Developed

10 09 2012

It hasn’t been that many years since Outkast sang “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” The only problem is that most young people at the time of the song’s release (2003) pretty much had no idea what the heck a Polaroid picture is. Or was.

Well, what goes around, comes around. We used Polaroids when I was a kid. Sure, they were crappy pics, but being able to watch the picture develop before our very eyes was novelty writ large. Never mind the price per picture, this beat sending off your film and waiting for two weeks. Yeah, go ahead and shake it.

Today, Polaroids are quickly becoming all the rage. They are so retro cool and stylish. Old Polaroid cameras can be found at garage sales and antique stores for little or nothing. And who among us can say that Instagram didn’t help fuel this craze with its snazzy filters and square images?

The only problem has been finding the film to use in the cameras. But no longer…The Impossible Project has made its mission the salvation of all things Polaroid.

My 14-year-old daughter’s life is now almost complete, for very soon she will begin her own Polaroid adventure. A confessed Instagram addict, she wants more than anything to see what photography was like when her old man wasn’t quite so old.

http://www.the-impossible-project.com/Of course, such new-found novelty doesn’t come cheap. An 8-pack of film runs $23.49 (they also sell new cameras if you can’t find an old one). Go ahead and shake your wallet, too.

TIP was started in 2008 by 10 former Polaroid employees. They bought the last remaining Polaroid film manufacturer, and set upon developing (pun intended) new products to be used with traditional Polaroid cameras. It’s an underground movement that is quickly going above-ground, especially with the likes of my friends over at Fading Nostalgia and their penchant for Polaroid photography (heck, Christopher Robleski recently released his first book, Polaroid Photos From Route 66).

Don’t think this is for real? The competition has awakened. Check out Fujifilm’s new Instax cameras. It, too, relies on instant processing, but produces pictures the size of a credit card. You can be the life of the party with a retro Polaroid or Instax if you don’t mind the coolness tax.

I suppose there’s a lesson to be learned here: Nostalgia never goes out of style. It just takes a while for the nostalgic yearning to emerge. While marketers are often in a hurry to move on to whatever the latest newfangled gadget may be, there is value in looking back to see what’s worth keeping…and worth re-introducing to an entirely new generation of users.

Once I made the move to digital back in November 1996 (with a Casio camera featuring 320 X 240 resolution!), I thought I would never go back to film. Digital is so much easier. The quality is now picture-perfect (as long as I can see straight enough to focus). And with memory cards, the price of “film” is pretty darn cheap.

Famous last pixels, eh?

Dr “Here, Let Me Take One More” Gerlich


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