Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Polaroid Photography

10 Good Things About Polaroid Photography:

1. instant photos
2. different effects can be created
3. an alternative to using a digital camera
4. easy to use
5. create flattering photos (most of the time)
6. no developing costs
7. recognisable, iconic packaging
8. retro photography
9. unusual, less commonly used amongst people today
10. fun to experiment with and use

10 Bad Things About Polaroid Photography:

1. Polaroid film isn't made anymore
2. film that is sold online is very expensive
3. some of the camera models are not aesthetically pleasing
4. dated (in terms of usage and design aesthetics)
5. not ergonomically designed 
6. awkward and bulky to take out and about
7. sometimes the photos don't develop properly, can be wasteful
8. can be viewed as pretentious, hipster...not cool
9. impractical
10. no digital copy, requires scanning 

Additional Information

Useful Links:

- Polaroid official website

- Polaroid official website (UK)

- online Polaroid gallery

- how to work a Polaroid camera

- news article on the appeal of instant, analogue photography within a digital age

Polaroid Photographers:

- Jen Gotch's April in Paris

- Matt Meyer

- Andrea Jenkins

- Grant Hamilton


- Susannah Conway

- The Impossible Project Blog

Audience Type:

- young, trendy, arty-type students

- young creatives, individualists

- middle-aged (30-50) nostalgic for the use of film photography

- others who strive to not solely rely on digital photography within a digital age but utilise analogue film as a way of being 'different'


- Polaroid vs. Instagram

- taking the analogue into the digital age

- the idea of resurrecting old trends/habits/fashions and technology whilst society nowadays are too busy with instant 'vintage' photography effects using an iPhone application

- how to create different effects/hands-on photography


"Photography has always had a precarious relation to cultural value: as Walter Benjamin put it, those who argued for photography as an art were bringing it to a tribunal it was in the process of overthrowing. This article examines the case of Polaroid, a company and technology that, after Kodak and prior to digital, contributed most to the mass- amateurization of photography, and therefore, one might expect, to its cultural devaluation. It considers the specific properties of the technology, the often skeptical reception Polaroid cameras and film received from the professional photographic press, and Polaroid’s own strategies of self-presentation, and finds that in each case a contradictory picture emerges. Like fast food, the Polaroid image is defined by its speed of appearance – the proximity of its production and consumption – and is accordingly devalued; and yet at the same time it produces a single, unique print. The professional photographic press, self- appointed arbiters of photographic value, were often rapturous about the technical breakthroughs achieved by Polaroid, but dismissive of the potential non-amateur applications and anxious about the implications for the ‘expert’ photographer of a camera that replaced the expert’s functions. For obvious marketing reasons, Polaroid itself was always keen to emphasize what the experts scorned in its products (simplicity of operation), and yet, equally, consistently positioned itself at the ‘‘luxury’’ end of the camera market and carried out an ambitious cultural program that emphasized the ‘‘aesthetic’’ potential of Polaroid photography. The article concludes that this highly ambivalent status of Polaroid technology in relation to cultural value means that it shares basic features with kitsch, a fact that has been exploited by, among others, William Wegman, and has been amplified by the current decline and imminent disappearance of Polaroid photography"

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