Impossible polaroids

29 January 2009 at 10:39 am Leave a comment


Tom Ding writes:

“One day I will tire of digital photography
and ‘get back to basics.’
While my pictures will not be
easy to share with friends and family
[via popular photo sharing websites]
If a photo is unsharable,
does that make it more personal,
more meaningful to me?”

(Carles, Hipster Runoff)

Now that everyone and their mum has a super-compact, many mega-pixel camera in their bag (and another on their phone), some have begun to miss the bits of photography that they have left behind. The lomography movement has been around for a while now, long enough to spawn satirical blog post poetry and iphone imitations anyway, but the impossible project feels more substantial. And more interesting.

In case you hadn’t heard, almost a year ago Polaroid announced that due to a lack of demand, they were to cease production of the film used in their cameras; the countdown to the final time when someone would truly “shake it like a polaroid picture” had started. Most enthusiasts were left with no option but to pay over the odds on ebay for the last scraps of the stuff, but a few have embarked on something altogether more ambitious: ‘the impossible project’.

Inspired by the original inventor Edwin Land (“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible”), a team of twelve amateur experts have acquired the equipment from one of the old factories. They are determined that by 2010 they will have invented a new type of film, compatible with the original cameras, but that uses components that are still in production. On the website a new clock is ticking (29,333,530 seconds at the time of writing); if they manage it, and if Russell Davies is right when he says that this is going to be a year for ‘real, post-digital things’, then it may have been a manifestly good idea.

The photograph, from The Impossible Project website, is of the former Polaroid film factory.

Entry filed under: digital, innovation, simplicity, technology. Tags: , , .

More books… and a film Watching waste

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