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HomeTECHNOLOGYPolaroid is back! Remember the snapshots?

Polaroid is back! Remember the snapshots?

The iconic Polaroid brand was reborn from the ashes and with it the magic of seeing an image slowly emerge in the palm of our hands.

THE polaroid Corporation released its first instant camera in 1948. The Polaroid Land Model 95 model quickly sold out from American stores on the first day of launch and its fame spread beyond borders. This was the first time that there was no need 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 instant camera market, but its days were numbered. The emergence of new, fast and cheap developing technologies lowered the demand for instant photography at the beginning of the 21st century.

In 2008, Polaroid gave up and announced the end of the production of cameras and instant films with its brand and began to dedicate itself to the sunglasses business. That same year, the arrival of the first iPhone seemed to confirm that this was a good decision.

The digital photo albums we carry in our pockets today could have put a damper on the subject of analogue instant photography, but they didn’t. The truth is that, 74 years later, Polaroid has been reborn and is very much alive and ready to delight photographers and amateurs, young and old alike.

Polaroid: more than a vintage fashion

At a time of revivalism, Polaroid rekindled public interest. And not just among the older ones who remembered with nostalgia the success that the machine was at gatherings of friends and family. 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 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 the youngest came to join the revivalists of the Polaroid brand from the end of the first decade of this century.

last factory

The big push for Polaroid’s comeback came from the Netherlands where a small group of instant photography enthusiasts bought the last Polaroid factory in 2008. In the following years he managed to keep the dream alive and in 2010 he finally released the first IMPOSSIBLE INSTANT FILM, the PX 100. Polaroid, which had already tried to return by partnering with Fuji, ended up taking the obvious route: buying back its old factory and the IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT. Impossible Instant products were first 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

Woman taking Polaroid photo

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 such as the Polaroid 600, which revisits the 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.

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. Prices vary between 100 and 600 euros, depending on the retailer and the current promotion.

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