Dream The !mpossible Dream…

Polaroid Analog Instant Film Returns to Market
Polaroid Campfire

The worst that can happen is getting a free box of Instant Camera film — now what?

Over three years ago, Polaroid stopped making their venerable film that had become such a huge part of popular culture, giving artists, professional photographers, and even families on vacation a very amusing and tactile method to instantly record their thoughts and events. It was fun! —the flash and whirring ratchet of the mechanism, the anticipation and amusement of watching the image develop right before your eyes.

Those were ‘the days’ without a doubt.

I’d even heard rumors that Instant Cameras would be going digital soon, and became intrigued earlier this year, when Polaroid announced plans for an instant ‘digital camera’ and ‘mobile printer’ using ZINK imaging paper with heat-activated dye crystals. Hmmm. . .

What’s really exciting, though, is the latest development out of the Netherlands, where a team of former Polaroid employees have banded together to form The Impossible Project, attempting to resurrect the analog experience, and improve it if they can.

That old Polaroid 600 I’ve held onto for three decades finally resurfaced during my recent spring cleaning. And it still works.

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent several hours browsing through the-impossible-project.com, actually purchasing four boxes of film, and trying to think up a project to use it on. . . Along the way I discovered how to get a promo discount — simply upload three scanned Polaroid prints to polanoid.net, a website dedicated to displaying a growing archive of photographic art from Instant Cameras around the world. Granted, there’s a lot of self-portraits, but also some very entertaining concept work. After going through closet, drawer, and shoe box to find something impressive to upload, I ended up choosing some old camping photos my kids had taken on road trips when they were quite young.

Anyway, I’ve ordered and received two boxes each of PX 600, Film Version 06, and the Silver Shade UV+ at $20 apiece, plus $11.00 shipping out of New York, minus the $7.00 discount, for a total of $91.00 USD. Again — now what?

What I’ve learned so far:
It is way more fun, especially after using the digital process for the last ten years or more. Definitely shoot the subject close-up, then cover the film with your hand immediately as it ejects, and let it develop upside down (without light) for up to 3 minutes. After it fully develops, tape off the base at the back to prevent moisture getting in or out. That sounds simple enough. What isn’t going to be quite so simple is finding a subject (or planning a series) worthy of the expense. Eight shots in a box — adds up to about three bucks each. I may take it on a camping trip, but probably won’t let the kids shoot them all this time!