Polaroid are to finally stop making stocks of their instant film as digital has finally conquered nearly all the old film formats. In truth the original Polaroid went bankrupt in 2001 and were eventually bought by Petters Group Worldwide in 2005.
So it’s goodbye to another analogue product. I used to enjoy modifying colour Polaroid prints by scratching at the developed photo which let you push the the three layer film dye around and morph the pictures into a strange version of the original years before computers and Photoshop. A good example of this technique is here.
Back in the day when I used to transfer old cine film onto video the strange Polavision cartridges would appear from time to time which were Polaroid’s instant movie system which didn’t really take hold as it was launched just as home video was becoming available. The cartridges contained film and were designed to playback in what looked like a TV monitor but was in effect a TV shaped projector based system. We used to have to open up the polavision cassettes in order to transfer the film to video.
I also remember using the Polaroid instant slides system which let you shoot a roll of special 35mm film which was then put through a portable a dry powder development system to produce 35mm slides quickly, often in our case for conference and slide presentation use. I knew many photographers who liked the arty quality of their instant black and white transparency film.
I can remember my Dad having a very old fashioned looking bellows style land camera that required you pull the film from the camera after shooting, placing in a metal clip holder and holding under your arm pit for the required development time. When the time was up you have to remove the chemical smelling backing to hopefully reveal a perfectly exposed print.
Polaroid sales peaked in the early 90’s though I remember Sony launching one of the 1st digital cameras in the mid 80’s but the transition to digital for most people has probably only been since the turn of the century.
Farewell then to Polaroid film. Technology moves on once again.