The Return of Polaroid

At our wedding reception my wife decided to set up a make-shift Polaroid photo booth in place of the traditional guest book. Cool idea but, of course, in the hustle and bustle of preparing and then driving from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania for the event we forgot to bring the camera and backdrop she had hoped to use. This lead to one of those day-before-the-wedding scenario’s where some unlucky but gracious family member is dispatched to “fix this.” After a few calls around to the local photo shops asking if they still carried Polaroid cameras and film–most of which were met with a snort and a laugh–we found one. The cheapest bed sheet available at Target–no time to iron it– became the new backdrop and it all worked splendidly. (My favorite portrait is featured above. Favorite action shot below.)

Now, Polaroid is “back” in the US market. The Boston Globe has two interesting takes on the subject, one from the tech point of view, the other from the view of the art critic.

I like both takes. Each is right in their own way, but the most telling line came from Sebastian Smee:

Part of what makes photography in the digital age so different from photography in the fast-receding age of negatives, darkrooms, chemicals, and prints is that, with digital cameras, there is nothing at stake. You can click away incessantly, and know that you will never feel depleted.

And yet some kind of law of diminishing returns seems to be at work, because you never quite feel satisfied, either.

Be sure to stick around in that Smee piece for the quotes from Walker Evans.

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