Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When did Polaroid become unbelievably retro?

Polaroid Land Camera 1000 by Juan Baeza used under a Creative Commons License

The years creep by and you don't realize it.

When I was a kid in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Polaroid was a leader in personal camera technology. Unlike its competitors, Polaroid promised a real-time picture experience in which you could literally see a picture forming before your eyes, just moments after the picture had been taken. OK, maybe a Polaroid picture wasn't of sufficient quality to be used in a newspaper or a book, but the real-time results were pretty impressive at that time.

But time passed, cameras became digital, and Polaroid itself faded away - or, more accurately, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. And again in 2008.

But the New York Times reports that some retro Europeans are trying to resurrect the technology:

They want to recast an outdated production process in an abandoned Polaroid factory for an age that has fallen for digital pictures because they think people still have room in their hearts for retro photography that eschews airbrushing or Photoshop.

“This project is about building a very interesting business to last for at least another decade,” said Florian Kaps, the Austrian entrepreneur behind the effort. “It is about the importance of analog aspects in a more and more digital world.”

Ah, analog love. You hear about the same thing from people who love vinyl records, believing that they offer a better sound than today's digital CDs or files.
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