Polaroid in the digital world

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Remember the days of Polaroids? I still remember the sheer excitement back in elementary school when I was handed a square sheet of what seemed to be glossy cardboard paper. My teacher instructed me to shake the paper, and look! My portrait magically appeared. That magic has dissipated mostly in part of the digital era, where you can get crisp, instant images stored in a compact camera that you could store forever.

With the emergence of digital cameras, Polaroid cameras started to fade into the background and eventually stopped manufacturing film. I, myself, am a full convert to the digital cameras for numerous reasons. But for those of you who are longing for the good old days, there may be some good news! The New York Times reports that a small group of Dutch scientists are working to bring back Polaroid back to the mainstream. Florian Kaps, one of the sponsors of the project, believes that “It is about the importance of analog aspects in a more and more digital world.”

But in a world where instant gratification is so sought after, what place does the now antique Polaroid camera have? If it is brought back, will there be enough demand to keep the company afloat? Mr. Kaps is confident in the Polaroid’s place in the market. “If everyone runs in one direction, it creates a niche market in the other,” he said.

In addition, some artists are now deliberately looking to use Polaroid films to produce a feeling of nostalgia. Marta Bukowska, a partner in Basic Model Management in New York, comments that she is asked to capture the “high-quality, old fashioned look.” She continues, “It used to be something you use for a lighting test…now it is the art itself.”

In fact, websites such as, with it’s motto of “bringing back the instant fun,” is an indication that the Polaroid aesthetic is prominent. The website allows people to upload Polaroid pictures and browse through what others have put up as well.


Still the scientists and sponsors are facing a few challenges ahead of them. The most crucial task at hand is to reinvent the film-making process that was dismantled in the U.S. after dissolution of the company. The scientists in total have about 300 years of experience together, so it won’t be long before they master the old art. Time to bring out the bulky Polaroid camera from the closet.


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