Trying to figure out why Polaroid film is so expensive and hard to find, my husband called Ritz Camera. I don’t know what I was expecting with packs of Polaroid film going for upwards of $45 on amazon. I was shocked when he told me that Polaroid had gone out of business. In 2008! That was three year after we bought our last Polaroid camera.
Digital is the new Film.
Last Spring I was pretty dispirited when the news broke that Kodak was going out of business for the same reason.
It isn’t that I use Polaroid often. Our Polaroid One600 was purchased seven years ago to take pictures for our wedding album. It has been BFF with our Monopoly game in the hallway closet since then.
Artists will always esteem film photography and, I am fairly confident that, a “boutique” demand will keep film photography relevant otherwise. With Urban Outfitters fostering many vintage, rare, collector’s edition, and cool looking cameras I know, at least, there is a safe haven and a demand for something quirky and capricious. When they go on clearance I might shiver in my oxfords just a little bit.
Palming the Polaroid One600, my husband disdains, “This is worthless.”
“A COLLECTOR’S ITEM!” I panic.
He is a photographer, too. He doesn’t argue.
We decide to include it in a time capsule we have been building for our son. Not because it is obsolete but because he is too young for the guardianship of such a special object.
We hope that one day the frenzy over digital perfection will settle down enough that he can buy a pack or a roll of film near his house. His camera will teach him that artistry is achieved from taking risks and skill is the reward of patience and effort. I want him to know how if feels to create something outside the realm of all he thought possible and to crave mystery, wonder, and the alteration of perception.
I hope he discovers that the vision of his heart and his guts and his environment are just as important as what he sees with his eyes.
I find myself optimistic to think that, while we may have closed the chapter on an era where the imperfect photograph was commonplace, we are embarking on one which appreciates the magic of film photography.