Friday, October 24, 2008

Doubly Exposing Polaroid

I mentioned to a friend that Polaroid is getting out of the film business and focusing on the new digital age. He said that there was no reason for instant cameras anymore, since digital cameras can now do anything that a Polaroid can.

I thought this was somewhat unimaginative and pointed out that one Halloween; I took photos of each group of joyful children who came to our door and as an extra treat, stuffed one into a kids sack from each group. Some of the parents accompanying their children were instantly delighted to see such a trick.

Another thing, I’ve used Polaroid’s for, is to photograph some of the majestic Peruvian sheepherders, who work outdoors here every summer. This camera is so powerful, that if used right, it can break language barriers. Once, while pre-staging my rig out Lake Creek, an evening before hiking High Ridge Trail, I ran into a couple of Peruvians and pointed up the ridge as to what my intention was. They liked this and to breach our difficulty in conversation, I motioned to ask if I could take their photo. After handing them their immediate images, I could tell that they were delighted enough that my rig would be safe for the night, as they would be watching over it from their camp.

One of my Polaroid’s seems to have acquired a Twilight-Zone-ish aspect. I must have spilled a soda on it or something, because if I press the snapshot button very lightly the film sticks in the camera, which allows me to take double-exposures on purpose! I have heard that some digital cameras can now do this, and look forward to seeing some of these.

Early generation camera phones are average quality at best

A few days ago, my housemate and I saw some children gleefully leaping into autumn leaves. She knew the girls, so we pulled over and took two instant shots using the light button trick. We handed them photo, which probably cost a dollar, then watched enchanted as they saw their doubled leaping images materialize onto the paper.

Sometimes, I’ve taken Polaroid’s to music festivals to capture friends in festive moods. By taking a friends photo and then handing them the only copy, you’ve empowered them to do what they want with the gift. If they don’t like the photo, they can trash it.

At a house, where I used to care take, they had a Polaroid shot of Andy Warhol sticking his tongue out at the camera. I knew this was a singular piece of art and that nobody else had captured him in that exact .15 second frame of fame.

When the day arrives that sheepherders and trick or treaters all carry duzz-all devices, I suppose this will make my high-tech friend’s argument stronger, about Polaroid’s obsoleteness. Polaroid film is still available in some places and the company says they will create enough film to last through 2009. They would be happy to consider selling the licensing rights to another company. However, unless somebody picks up the brand name soon, Polaroid is going to die without imagination.

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