There’s a camera out there, or rather, a type of camera that every photographer seems to have a deep connection to. This camera has no Wi-Fi, no geo-tagging, or manual functions. Heck, it doesn’t zoom, nor is it even digital! I’m talking about the Polaroid and new Polaroid-style cameras that are making a resurgence among photography lovers both young and old.
There’s an intrinsic beauty in a finished photograph that you can hold in your hands. I think that is why these cameras are so dear to us – they deliver a tangible, finished product right into our hands. They help us to actually make something.
But that’s not the only reason that we feel a strong connection with these mechanical wonders. They make the process of taking a photo more thoughtful since we know two things: we have a very limited number of photos we can take, and also – they are expensive.
Those two simple facts coupled with a relatively simple camera, give us an ability to become more deeply involved in the making of a photograph. As a bonus, there is a child-like wonderment in anticipation of the result as we wait for the image to fade-in on the paper. The experience then concludes with a remarkable sense of satisfaction when we do make a memorable image, likely to last longer than any digital files that will inevitably become buried on storage mediums.
Sure, we’re not making professional (as in sellable) photographs. These small wonders bring us back to being present in our photographic process – and that pure joy for the process of being creative comes flooding back. They get us excited about photography, and they return fond feelings of nostalgia to those of us who used the first generation Polaroid.
And Polaroid isn’t out of the game by any stretch. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Polaroid announced the upcoming Socialmatic instant cameras coming this Fall (2014). Set to inspire the “Instagram generation” of photography enthusiasts, these cameras are sure to be a hit with the youth market – and maybe even gadget-freaks of my generation.
There’s a reason these cameras have stood the test of time. They help us rediscover a sense of mystery, excitement, and satisfaction. And while many brands are now coming out with these types of cameras, we’d like to take a moment to say, “Thank you Polaroid, for keeping the magic of image-making filled with wonder, anticipation, and delight.”