The camera at left is an instant Polaroid camera and it’s about to be sent to the retirement home. Recently Polaroid announced that it’s going to end production of its instant film. It had already stopped making the cameras so now it seems the end of an era is really at hand.
I’m a professional photographer and I now work with digital exclusively. But I’m also versed in film, including its use in large format applications which uses instant film for test shots.
While consumer Polaroids were mostly a novelty item, I remember finding one at a thrift store for $2 while on my solo cross-country road trip several years ago. I still have the prints (which cost more than the camera) pasted throughout my journey journal, of the friends I visited from Atlanta to Alaska. The print quality was awful, dark and unreliable. But it was fun.
The digital world has already answered the call for instant gratification with instant digital cameras. We’ll buy them for parties and quirky gatherings. So when we mourn the loss of Polaroids, are we lamenting a changing industry or are we yet again just reminded that we’re getting older?