Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Remember The Days of the Instant Photo?

While taking photos of my latest project that I would use for my Etsy store, I got a sudden hankering for an actual photo. I have been using my iPhone 5 lately for photos and while they are good, in fact fantastic at balancing colors against a black background, you still have to plug it in the computer, go through the frustrating process of downloading it into iPhoto, a program that gets more and more unreliable with each iteration, and then open in PhotoShop to finally make your corrections and save so they can be uploaded. It takes an hour just to process the five photos you are allowed to upload.

When I was a senior in high school, after a traumatic summer when my father passed away, I was given a Polaroid J-66, the "affordable" Polaroid, for Christmas. At around $89 it was pretty pricey in 1962 and the film even more so. Each roll took 10 photos and cost about a buck a piece. You were VERY judicious of the photos you took. The thing was built like a tank and weighed as much as a modern laptop. But whoa, you snapped that photo and in a minute had your picture. I hauled that thing around through my senior year and then off to college. I guess I left it at home when I went into the Peace Corps and don't even know what finally happened to it.

Polaroid didn't keep up with the times and was finally marginalized to the professional market who needed a quick way to see what a photo was going to look like before they spent money on 4 x 5 film. Then came the Phase 1 back that plugged into your Mac and that was the end of even that market.

It appears that Polaroid, once bankrupt and shut down, has more or less come back. The new Polaroid offers a camera that gives you a 2 x 3 print instantly but wisely also saves a digital version as well. Funny, it hasn't caught on. They have however, kept to the same pricing formula and the camera is about $249 now and each roll of film is around $10. It still takes 10 photos though color now. You do get a digital file that is saved on an SD card. So there is a plus. Just about every Mac has a slot now for an SD card so you can print AND save those files.

I think though that they have marginalized themselves with cost. I guess that's why everyone just sends their smart phone photos to other smart phones or uploads them to Facebook. Its a shame. I do miss the days when you watched the photo appear like magic before your very eyes.

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