Thursday, May 29, 2008

Positively Polaroid

Ahh, the polaroid. You will be missed! Created in 1963 by American Scientist Edwin Land, the polaroid instant camera and instant film has become an American staple. Polaroids can be used for several different purposes, but namely it answers the question: Can I see the photo now? Make-up artists have used it to take instant photos of application for referrals; photographers use it to preview lighting; some people simply want to see their photo after it is taken. Sadly, though, the digital camera and photography (or polaroids on steroids) have killed this time travel machine. In February 2008, the Polaroid Corporation announced its discontinuation of polaroid film. Fujifilm is now the sole distributor of instant film.

And that just fuckin' sucks.

Months ago, I went to the Fairfax High School Swap Meet. I love these junkyards. One man's junk is another man's treasure. I happened to be browsing through a table when I stumbled upon my treasure: a $10 polaroid camera. Without hesitation, I bought it. Ten minutes later, I did wonder whether I should have asked the seller whether it still worked or not, but I immediately put that disheartening notion out of my mind. I thought maybe I could buy polaroid film on eBay by the bulk, but that proved fruitless as these fuckin' swoopers come out of nowhere during the last hour and outbid me--this happened literally ten times in a row. Finally, though, I discovered that Target sold them, and I proceeded to buy 5 packs of ten. By the way, Polaroids are fucking expensive! It's nearly 20 bucks for 10 photos: do the math.

Ever since then, though, they have become worth the price because I get much more out of them than they are worth.

Polaroids have several different connotations. They have different layers of meanings to different people. To me, polaroids are life in an instant, in one singular moment. The best kind of polaroid pictures are the candid ones. In one polaroid film, you can almost capture the essence of a person. You could say, "Dude, that picture is so Tyler; Wow, that's such a Maria moment." The best candid photos are the ones that catch people being themselves when no one else is looking--they've taken off their mask.

Polaroids also give off the scent of nostalgia. Personally, when I think polaroid, I think 80s. It is literally capturing time in its small frame and making that moment become the past. With its quick flash and instant development, the transition from present to past quickens, thus invoking a sense of time travel. They also invoke nostalgia because of the sentimental home movie-feel they evoke. They have this amateur feel because of the odd lighting and thick film development texture. They are meant to not look professional. Because of this, not only do they give the air of authenticity, they capture true reality. Sure, it's your perception through that tiny square lens, but it's your real truth. No doctoring. No photoshop. No bullshit.

Buy a polaroid camera. Buy some film. Have fun with it before they run out. Who knows? You might be able to see the world for what it really is.

No playlist today, but for your viewing pleasure, polaroids from this past weekend (other albums coming soon!):

1 comment:

Mayra said...

sweet polaroids! youve got quite a talent there.