Death to the Polaroid

Sad news on Planet Instant Film this week as the chaps at Polaroid have decided that they no longer want to make film for the select group of anoraks that still use the stuff. If you thought it was bad when they stopped making SX-70 then this will be intolerable. Neutral density filters will not help you out of this one. Seriously, this is a sad day.

My obsession with camera film tends towards the medium format but I love a nice Polaroid as much as any hardened film fan, if not a little bit more. So this is terrible. But, it’s not a shock – the signs have been there for a while. As soon as God gave us the digital camera, in all it’s pixelated point-and-shoot inducing vileness, the end of the Polaroid phenomena was sighted by the centries scanning the perimeter fences of Fort Film. Apparently the existing stock will run out by 2009 – hello eBay…

I have mixed feelings about Polaroids. Growing up I always coveted the beautiful little white-bordered squares of photographic goodness. The self-developing ‘600’ style Polaroid pictures had a special quality about them that meant no matter how terrible the photograph, throwing it away was just not an option. I’m trying to think of a suitable metaphor to help me explain this better, but there isn’t one. Suffice to say it’s the only possible justification I can find for owning a blurry picture of my ex-girlfriend’s bald eagle. Ugh. Polaroids are quite unique in this respect, if not rather sinister.

Anyway, a few years ago I met this girl who was rather fond of Polaroids, became rather fond of her and received an SX-70 Model 2 camera as a birthday present from her.

SX-70 Model 2Cool, huh?

However, as with all good wholesome lesbian relationships things eventually went tits up (not in a good way) and for a while I couldn’t stand the sight of the beastly little things. Polaroids, that is, although, for a while I had to suppress the gagging reflex when near lesbians also. So I stuck firmly with the ‘normal’ film and went on to buy my beautiful Rolleiflex 3.5F Planar with 75mm Zeiss lens. Fit. It was only recently that I dropped my guard and allowed Polaroids back on the radar. It was only even more recently that I let a few swim through the shark-infested moat that surrounds Castle Shaz and make it into one of my cameras.

Perhaps that’s why I’m not quite as sad as I should be about what really is quite a serious tragedy for photography. As I said, the current stock will be gone by 2009. There’s a small part of me that thinks good riddance to those fucking cameras and their tacky instant gratification film. It’s the same part of me that thinks good riddance to the fucking ex-girlfriend.

The other part of me is considering where I should start stockpiling film. I wonder how much a small external storage unit would cost per week…?

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