It was 67 years ago this week that inventor Edwin H. Land unveiled his Polaroid instant camera; "instant" in that after the shutter clicked, an image would develop on the film within a minute. Quite revolutionary in its day, though compared to today's digital cameras, a Polaroid is rather clunky. Still, instant photography began with that old technology, and has been widely used in medical and business fields, as well as in commercial and fine art photography.
Like many boomers, I've owned several Polaroid cameras over the years. When the company stopped making film for an older model, I'd buy a newer one. So it was kind of a shock when, in February of 2008 Polaroid announced it would stop selling film altogether. This led to a run on the market for available film stock. I bought several dozen boxes of the stuff myself, figuring I'd better stock up before it disappeared. Soon the film was showing up on eBay and commanding high prices.
I never considered my Polaroid cameras fine photographic instruments. Most of the pictures I took with them came out with faded colors and had a soft, diffused look. But they were fine for quick snapshots at parties. You can see my stash of film as well as a Polaroid shot of one of my cameras in operation by clicking on the images.
Several years ago a group of entrepreneurs arranged with the company that now owns Polaroid to resume production of film for some of the later model cameras, so instant camera enthusiasts will be able to snap away for some time to come.