I find it rather amusing that in this day-in-age of self driving cars, voice controlled programs, drones and other high tech gadgets, there’s been a resurfacing of “retro”. When I say this what comes to my mind are the records that have been reintroduced into stores and film cameras. And while I know film never really went away, it just faded out of the mainstream, I’m kinda astounded it’s back. Although mainly it’s in it’s instant form.
First off let’s look at instant film’s history. Long ago, it was the company Polaroid that first introduced instant film, in the way we think of it. And they, of course, are why we call instant photos “polaroids”. Anyway tragically in 2008 they announced they would stop making instant film. Yea, that recently! And since other companies had been chased out of the instant film biz, like Kodak, there was no way to get film for the pre-existing polaroid instant cameras and Fujifilm wasn’t well known.
Well, I’m glad to tell you that has changed. Since Polaroid stopped production Fujifilm (which is a Japanese company) has been becoming more popular. And the one that caught my attention was their Instax Minis. The other instant film company is The Impossible Project. They are aimed at creating film for the pre-existing cameras that need instant film like Polaroid One.
So since these two are the big, and really only, ways to get instant film you can bet that film is expensive! And yea, any film is expensive, but with instant there’s only two places to go!
Now I have two instant cameras, and I’m eyeing a third… but that’s not important. What is important is that my first one is a Polaroid One that I got when I was 7 0r 8. And man… I thought film was expensive and hard to find then…..Try now!! I can only get film for this camera from The Impossible Project! And it has a few quirks compared to the original film (they had to recreated the formula since Polaroid lost the recipe). Instead of the 5 minute wait with traditional film, it’s now 30-40 minutes and I have to hide it in a dark spot while developing. While before, as long as it wasn’t sitting in direct sunlight it was fine. But it’s great otherwise. And The Impossible Project has some really cool frames.
My other is a Instax Mini 8. The film acts just like the original Polaroid film and I love how it has a blue undertone as opposed to The Impossible Project’s’ orange. What I’m not a big fan of is the size. I just love the look of, to me, the standard Polaroid picture. The mini prints out a tiny credit card size photo. And even if you get a Fujifilm Wide, it’s not the same. But Fujifilm’s cameras also have the added bonus of being perceived as fashionable.
Yea. And while they both are limited on how many pictures they can take, my Mini 8 can take 10 and my Polaroid One can now take only 8, compared to the near endless photos I can take on my digital camera or even my phone. One thing I think that’s missing from our digital age is a bit of tangibility. I don’t really get my photos developed. It’s expensive and not content, so all my photos are stored away in digital folders and SD cards. I miss photo albums and flipping through the years. But with
polaroids, er… instant photos.. you can hold on to one instant, a fleeting moment. And yea, they almost never look perfect per say, but I think that’s part of the appeal. It compels you to slow down and really focus on taking the shot. You only have one shot and it’s printed, after all.