On February 9th 2008 the Polaroid Corporation announced what will most likely be the demise of an era in photography. They’re closing down all their factories, and they will stop producing the famous instant film, after they made enough to last until 2009.
Why would someone care in the age of digital cameras and endless post production possibilities? The answer is simple, but at least two-fold. Firstly, there’s nothing like the feeling of watching a Polaroid photo develop. Secondly, no digital effect produces the same result. Don’t even get me started on the true uniqueness of a Polaroid picture.
I got pretty attached to Polaroids over the last year. The technology is just fascinatingly simple but effective. I own 30 year-old cameras that still work, that are more fun to shoot with than their digital cousins.
The news were not only a bummer to me, but to thousands of people who still use Polaroids and appreciate all their unique properties. And contrary to Frank Ahrens argument that endless streams of digital photos on sites like Flickr are one of the reasons for Polaroid to shut down its former core business, I’d argue that it’s the exact opposite. It’s sites like Flickr or polanoid that bring new people just like me to Polaroid photography.
I seriously hope that another company will pick up the license which Polaroid is happy to sell, and continue to produce instant film. Otherwise in 2009 the era of instant photography will come to an end. So if you like Polaroids, better start making room in your fridge.