29 May 2009

Resurrecting Polaroid. Maybe.

The New York Times has run a couple of interesting articles this week concerning my favorite camera company Polaroid. The slow decline and ultimate financial failure of Polaroid's instant camera and film business was almost inevitable with the advent of digital photography. Still, there are a lot of people out there who love Polaroid photography for reasons more subtle and numerous than mere convenience, its competitive disadvantage against digital technology be damned. As the Times reported this week, a handful of scientists in the Netherlands and an Austrian entrepreneur are attempting to restore Polaroid's abandoned (and almost landfill-bound) manufacturing equipment and return instant film to the market. Article here.

The possibility of returning my SX-70s to active service is very exciting and I wish them great success in this venture. Dr. Land, I think, would be delighted. However more advanced and ubiquitous digital photography inevitably will become, for many people instant photography holds a unique and durable charm. Hopefully there's still room in the marketplace for it.

An expansive gallery of Polaroid photographs, submitted by readers, is posted on the New York Times here. It's definitely worth looking at.

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