Whirring like a retro robot toy from the disco era, the leather and plastic camera spewed out an image from its flat mouth. Fifteen minutes later an image appeared from milky nothingness to an old school photo.
“It lives” I shouted to the world as I raised my hands in a mad professor-like gesture.
I may be a little late to the Polaroid bandwagon.. 40 years too late, but with a recent purchase of an SX-70 Model 2 Polaroid SLR and a couple of pricey Polaroid Originals film, I am happy to be better late than never.
The novelty of taking a photograph and having it appear almost instantly may be ironic in this digital age of photography, however there is a number of factors that make it worth the effort and expense.
1) Fun factor! It cant be argued that manipulating a Polaroid camera, from it’s folding out, to the focusing, to the film rolling out from the camera after an image has been captured, is a ton of fun. Sure, someone with their phone may be able to mash their fingers on their screen and produce a plethora of images in the time my SX-70 produces one image, but who can argue with the uniqueness of the capabilities of a truly awesome experience.
2) The images the SX-70 produce are real.. I can actually hold one in my hand. It can't be denied, or deleted. I love the fact that the images are a physical reality. I recommend all of my wedding clients o obtain prints, the physical nature of the photos have a vibrancy and permanence that a virtual image doesn't convey.
3) No editing!! This one is more to do with me working as a photographer. Digital is what it is and at a certain level can't be separated from hours of editing. It is what it is. It is therefore, so refreshing to just push a button and pocket an image without any more work needed to be done on it.
4) The photos actually get looked at closely by people. Not just for a nano-second like an image on Facegram or Instabook. The photos literally captivated people’s attention become a fridge worthy addition.
5) There is nothing like the look of a Polaroid image. It has it’s own uniqueness. The colours, can’t be recreated by digital equivalents, no matter how good they claim to be. The creamy highlights and the vintage colours are one of a kind. I can even alter the white balance slightly depending on the warmth applied to the developing image.
6) The photos are one of a kind. They are utterly individual, making each one a small treasure to be hoarded.
I'm sure there are other factors that make Polaroids a stand out hit, though I must admit to just simply enjoying the whole process. I am hesitant to admit that using this camera and film is the equivalent to consuming expensive candy with each packet of eight exposures costing a small fortune, but I have never shy'd away from extravagant vices. For some reason they seem to have an irresistible quality that heightens the experience.