Paean to the Polaroid & its Austrian Saviour
Anyone who knows me will be familiar with the larger than average bags I carry around principally for the purposes of carrying a massively clunky plastic PINK polaroid camera.. It has been bashed, had whiskey spilt on it, facepaint dripped on it, and taken up obscene amounts of luggage space travelling to, amongst other less exotic destinations, Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco, Philly, and New York. I've illustrated this entry with some of my favourite polasnaps of recent times. My room is also a shrine to these little world windows.
I have had a special place in my heart for the polaroid since I was first shown this livejournal community, Postmarks, which centres around the exchange of artfully-taken polaroid pictures with cryptic descriptions, sent in the post across America between a couple - you don't find out their relationship but they get pretty deep - then lovingly scanned for the world to see.There is no dialogue on the blog apart from these images, which is perhaps what makes it so captivating.
In 2003 I bought the above camera, from eBay, of course, which came free with a pair of pink sunglasses that predated last summer's Ray Ban revival substantially. I lost those glasses but touch wood, as yet I've kept a hold of the pink beast. Of course we were all despondent not so long ago when it was announced that Polaroid would no longer be making film, I still managed to find the stuff in my local branch of Boots. How long would stocks last, though?
In the meantime, the Young Future People use apps like the rather cute although infuratingly mac only Poladroid.net (mac only.. pfftshh) to 'polafy' their digital snaps. Cool, yes, but you can't stick those on your walls for shit!
Deep joy abounds, then, as the Sunday Indy announced in a lovely 'warm glow' story that Polaroid is saved. They reported ('Smile! Polaroid is Saved' - 18/01/09)
If all goes to plan, the Polaroid factory in Enschede, Amsterdam, will soon be making film again thanks to its new owner, an eccentric Austrian artist and businessman named Florian Kaps. Mr Kaps, 39, has dedicated the past five years to instant photography. He set up Polanoid.net, the biggest Polaroid gallery on the web, and the first ever Polaroid-only art gallery in Vienna, called Polanoir. Now he plans to save the film. "The project is more than a business plan; it's a fight against the idea that everything has to die when it doesn't create turnover," said Mr Kaps.
What a lovely contradiction - artist and businessman, shame he won't get far with that nice attitude!
Dubbed "The Impossible Project", the development of new film for Polaroid cameras launches today. Working with the Manchester-based black and white photography company Ilford, the machinery is in place to produce film of two exposure types, each compatible with both the classic SX-70 cameras popular with artists and the more modern 600 series. Work has begun on a prototype. By hiring 11 of the original Polaroid team from the factory floor, Mr Kaps aims to mass produce both colour and black and white film under the Impossible label by December, coinciding with the projected date that existing stocks will run out.
We love you Polaroid, long may you remain blurry and inexplicably flattering.