…Doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it? (I am, of course, talking about Outkast’s catchy tune, ‘Hey ya!’ which actually goes ‘shake it like a Polaroid picture.’)
Anyway, Polaroid are running down their business. These are sad times for those who truly revered the merits of instant film. Sure, medium format film continues to have a vital place in the circles of photographic artistry, but with digital cameras now practically falling out of cereal boxes, their days are surely numbered too.
Now, obviously you can’t just pick up a digital camera, snap away and achieve the kinds of stunning images we are bombarded with on a daily basis; advertisements for cars, fashion pictures, brochure images, even book covers, have all been digitally manipulated and enhanced to within an inch of their pixelly lives. Indeed, this is a skill – scour the shelves of any decent magazine retailer and you’ll find more magazines on the topic than you can count on both hands. It’s big business.
The danger, of course, is that we’ll eventually lose any sense of the real, instead presented continually with ‘amended’ versions only loosely connected to the original image – of what a) people (advertisers?) WANT us to see, and b) what we’ll eventually come to expect. I truly envisage the day coming when an unedited, non-adjusted image of a subject (whatever that may be) evokes unease and discomfort in the viewer.
There’s a lot to be said for digital photography and image manipulation in the sphere of art- but creating something thought-provoking and visually moving with instant film is a process hindered only by the bounds of creativity and vision – the future of which I worry about in this increasingly sterile world.
For an example of the artistic merits of instant film – have a look here.