The iconic Polaroid brand rose from the ashes and with it the magic of seeing an image slowly emerge in the palm of our hands.
A polaroid Corporation launched its first instant camera in 1948. The Polaroid Land Model 95 quickly sold out of American stores on the first day of release and its fame crossed borders. This was the first time that you didn’t have to wait for a photograph to be developed. It was “revealed”, in the photographer’s own hand, in real time, one minute after it was taken.
Until the end of the 20th century, Polaroid dominated the photo cameras instantaneous, but its days were numbered. The emergence of new fast and cheap developing technologies lowered the demand for instant photography in the early 21st century.
In 2008, Polaroid gave up and announced the end of production of cameras and instant films under its brand and started to dedicate itself to the business of sunglasses. That same year, the arrival of the first iphone it seemed to confirm that this had been a good decision.
The digital photo albums that we carry in our pockets today could have put a damper on the subject of analogue instant photography, but that was not the case. The truth is that, 74 years later, Polaroid has been reborn and is very much alive and ready to delight photographers and amateurs, whether young or old.
Polaroid: more than a vintage fashion
In an era of revivals, Polaroid has once again awakened the public’s interest. And not just among the elderly, who nostalgically recalled the success the machine had at friends and family gatherings.
Currently, people of all ages seem to be rediscovering the magic of the “instant square” as an object in itself, contrasting it with the immediacy and inconstancy of images on digital screens.
In Japan, where Fujifilm never abandoned instant cameras, this type of photography was even considered a novelty among the younger digital generations who had no memory of its existence.
Around its use as a gadjet, a pop culture even emerged that spread. In Europe, this culture among younger people came to join the revivalists of the Polaroid brand from the end of the first decade of this century.
The big push for Polaroid’s comeback came from Netherlands where a small group of instant photography enthusiasts purchased the last Polaroid factory in 2008.
In the following years, he managed to keep the dream alive and in 2010 he finally launched the first IMPOSSIBLE INSTANT FILM, the PX 100. Polaroid, which had already tried to come back by associating itself with Fuji, ended up taking the obvious route: buying back its old factory and the IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT.
The Impossible Instant products started to be renamed in 2017 with the name Polaroid Originals, but in 2020 the brand returned to the old but well-recognized name: Polaroid.
Polaroid: models for all types of users
Currently, Polaroid offers versions of instant cameras for all tastes. It is possible to opt for smaller, more portable and cheaper models, such as Polaroid Go or Polaroid Now.
But also for more expensive models and revivalist models like the Polaroid 600, which revisits versions from the 80s and 90s, or the SX-70, which rebuilds one of the first models launched by the American brand and delights the nostalgic ones.
Even with the strong competition from digital photography, the queen of instant cameras is back and attracts more and more professionals and amateurs who want to try this aspect of “slow photography” (slow photography).
Prices vary between 100 and 600 euros, depending on the retailer and the current promotion.