Instant cameras, credited to American scientist Edwin Land, were brought to commercial consumption in 1948. With usage varying from ID cards, ultrasounds, and most notably, creating memories with family and friends, it has been a camera that has withstood the test of time several times over. In present day, majority of folks have a cellphone with them every step of the way. These cellphones allow for pictures to be taken at just about any moment that passes, with a simple click. Furthermore, these images can be send through text, email, or even uploaded onto social media. So there goes the instant gratification part of photography taken care of… or is it? Yes, while phones create several memories, or even endless selfies during a date with your mirror, there are still so many reasons to keep an instant camera nearby.
The Look and Feel of Polaroids
As they say, what goes around always comes back around. That saying can’t be any truer than with trends. As we are well into the 2000’s, more and more people are tapping into older trends to keep that feeling of nostalgia alive and well. One trend in particular is the “vintage film look.” There are several mobile apps, Adobe Lightroom presets, LUTs, and more, that can turn just about any picture into a “filmy, grainy, and enriched image.” With that being said, here’s another saying “often replicated, but never duplicated.” Even with the great filters that are at our disposal, nothing beats the genuine feel and look of holding that film in your hands after taking it. The ability to take the film, once it’s developed, and tape it to your bedroom wall, put it into your wallet, hang it up at your desk, or even turn it into a bigger photography project, is unmatched!
The Experience that Polaroids Gives Us… With Each Shot
SHAKE IT SHAKE IT SHAKE IT… LIKE A POLAROID PICTURE. Andre 3000 sang it, so you know it must be fun! So as I hinted towards it in the last section, the step-by-step fun of taking a picture with a polaroid camera is absolutely rewarding. From looking through your viewfinder, admiring the essence of your subject, clicking down that shutter release button, watching your photo being printed out, letting it develop in a dark place (maybe your pocket?), to finally picking the picture back up and holding it in your hands. It’s like opening up a gift each time you go through that process, and you may not get that feeling with your cell phone.
Polaroids Keep Us Honest
The other impactful feature of a polaroid, and other instant cameras, is the ability to keep us honest with the art. Knowing that you essentially have ONE opportunity to get the shot, unless you actually want to go through several slips of film, it can make you appreciate what goes into the background of a picture. Taking pictures with your cellphone, or even a DSLR, gives you the opportunity to take a whole bunch of photos, with the hopes of finding at least one that looks somewhat decent. Shooting with a Polaroid Instant Camera gives you that one chance, maybe two… sometimes three, to capture that memory. So in cases where you look at older family pictures, there may be a few that was taken “before someone was ready.” Those photos are honest, and tell much more of a story than that “perfect photo.”
At the end of the day, photography is what YOU make it!