Monday, March 7, 2011

Long Live Polaroid!

It's kind of funny to me that in today's world of instant everything, Polaroid is a thing of the past. I know, I'm completely ignoring the whole digital photography thing that allows us to see our photographs instantly on the back of our cameras (or phones). However, I still love film and I still love having a physical photograph in my hands. Polaroid pictures satisfy both my desire to see my pictures instantly AND my desire to hold a physical object. 

My first Polaroid camera was given to me by my sister, just about three years ago, not long after Polaroid announced they would cease production of their film. At the same time, she gave me several packs of the Polaroid film (600 & 779) that work in that camera.

In the past year alone, my Polaroid camera collection has quadrupled. It started when my grandmother sent me her old Polaroid SX-70 Sonar OneStep camera. Then, in just the past month, an awesome friend sent me two Polaroid cameras she found while helping a friend clean out her grandfather's house (with her friend's permission of course!). New to my collection are the SX-70 Alpha 1 and the 440 Land Camera. I was most excited to have the SX-70 Alpha 1 because although it's not the original SX-70 (which was produced from 1972-1977), it was the second in the SX-70 series (production beginning in 1977) and from what I've read, it's superior to the Sonar OneStep (production beginning in 1978) I received from my grandmother (dates from The Land List). Here are my two new lovelies:

The SX-70 Alpha 1 is in amazing shape! The leather cover and strap look like it was hardly used. With a couple of minor modifications to the camera, I can use Polaroid 600 or 779 film with this camera. Yup, I still have a couple of packs left from the supply my sister bought a few years ago. The film is expired now, but here are a few images I've taken with the SX-70:

 This one was a total mistake but I love the abstract photograph the mistake created!

This is an alabaster owl figurine I recently asked my mom if I could have. I'm not into figurines at all, and as kitschy as it may be, I love this owl since I remember always seeing it as a kid, sitting on a shelf in my mom's bedroom.

 This is a sculpture I made when it was only partially finished.

This one didn't develop correctly because it was way too cold outside. Oops.

I still need to make a modification to the battery of the 440 camera to make it functional so I have yet to try it out. My Polaroid camera collection now sits at four:

(From left to right: Polaroid One600, SX-70 Alpha 1, SX-70 Sonar OneStep, 440 Land Camera)

Thankfully, after Polaroid ceased production of their film, a few former Polaroid employees began The Impossible Project to produce Polaroid-like film. Long live Polaroid!

What do you think about Polaroid? A thing of the past that produced horrible pictures that you relate to the 70s? Something you look upon with kindness and a sense of nostalgia?


Rebecca said...

I have that exact same SX-70 OneStep camera! And you know who gave it to grampa! Looks like we have pretty swell grandparents, you and I! Mine even came with one set of that hasn't been used yet! I can't wait to try some film in it and see if that old bulb can still light up a room. :D

This is such a fun post! And I agree with what you're saying about the pleasing in-your-hands-ness of a polaroid. Or a regular print, for that matter. I love instant digital feedback on my dslr, but I find myself thinking "I have it digitally...what do I need to make prints for?" and that makes me sad.

Hopefully one day soon, the Impossible Project film will be more affordable and we will all rejoice :)

Leslie McDaniel said...

Hey Bek...I'd love to see your Polaroids if you find the camera works! I agree about being kind of sad about not printing my digital images. I keep thinking I will but then I never do. :( Yes, hopefully the film will be more affordable!! Thanks for commenting!

AMANDA GUY said...

friggin bad ass Leslie! I love polaroid! I wish I had one. ;)

Leslie McDaniel said...

Haha...thanks Amanda!

Tessa said...

*Sigh* Polaroid. I am infatuated with the idea of the mini Fuji Polaroid-type camera that is currently available...BUT while indulging in my guilty pleasure of craigslist/internet shopping I found an old Polaroid camera for $10 and film for $25/box. Unfortunately, due to living out of my car for the next few months I can neither justify buying them to myself nor my wonderful husband. But they are out there floating around. Polaroid is wonderful.



Ronnie Ruiz said...

I have three sx-70s and love them equally :) I picked up two on ebay and paid a price then here in Billings one day stumbled upon one for 10 bucks! I love them and The Impossible Project!