Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 2/17/08

Polaroid Instant Cameras: Frankly my dear I donít give a snap
By, Ezra Mann (Editor and flash punster)
So itís finally come to the day when film and their cameras start to gradually wave the final goodbye. Those who still cling to the ancient form of photography solely are either the extreme fans or old enough to pass on with it.
This only seemed more the case when Polaroid announced that it was no longer producing that one quirky historical footnote of instant cameras and the film that will eventually follow. So as thousands of hardcore negative shakers buy out what they can I say itís time to soak up how mystical the old school photo end times will be. Bleached white cult robes are of course optional.
While St. 35mm will stick around for at least a while to listen to the forlorn cries of the developed masses, I must say that I am somewhat happy and sad about the end of Polaroidís cheap reign. On the one hand it was not that high quality an operation; on the other hand it was plain fun to see a photo magically appear instead of only being able to waft in the perfume of a darkroom.
Many would have to admit that something took the glory of photography and turned it into an SNL worthy skit had quite a reign. Then again, the old light bulb also stuck around much longer than necessary and took an act or two of congress to move us into a more efficient pathway. Yet, anything congress can accomplish is a convoluted act upon itself.
Iím not ashamed to admit that I still carry around a few examples of the old shooting world as a backup in case my digital camera is not available for the task. I still have a Canon Rebel from my early college years with a roll or two of 35mm film that can assist my focus.
Yet, being a true photo nerd, I await the day when I can snag one of those new digital SLRs and only have to use the Sony Cybershot as the primary backup. That and at my income for the next several years Iíve got to make more out of less moolah. The American dollar certainly doesnít seem to be heading in my direction.
Besides, just because film may not be the hottest thing these days does not mean we have to give up on keeping a physical copy of things. Even the most nostalgic can create the old as if it were new using that fabled device known as a printer.
I donít think Pope Eastman Kodak would zoom on out of the grave and wind the pain down on us for actually practicing convergence. Thatís right, old and young can work together by actually respecting the changes that happen from generation to generation. You might have to speak up for the selectively deaf ears in Washington though.
Oh, thatís right I was going to talk about the death of old photography as we know it. I guess when you really think about it, the only things outside of ourselves that die are what we allow to pass on.
Darn my concept of thinking things through and coming to a logical conclusion. Just to punish myself Iím going to go reorganize the display of forgotten photojournalism technology in my living room. Thatíll teach me to think before I type.

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