New company breathes life and vision into our Polaroid memories...
As a child growing up in Australia in the 1970's my life was framed by polaroid moments. My Uncle worked as an engineer, traveling all over the world on big ocean-going cargo ships. Each time he visited us he brought many wild and exotic presents - many of them featuring the latest technology. His visits were a time of great excitement and heightened awareness of the joys of life.
Andy Warhol - "Jean-Michel Basquiat" 1982 - Polaroid
My greatest source of fascination was the polaroid camera he brought with him when he came to stay. It was a big clunky folding thing - but if felt like a doorway into a magical world - instant photographs. Somehow it seemed like a whole team of chemists and scientists were at work inside that little box!
Ever since then, the polaroid camera came to symbolize for me, and for many others, the synthesis of warm happy childhood moments, art, and technology before it became a data stream.
I love the analog qualities of film. It offers the opportunity of an infinity of variations not available to digital cameras. And the polaroid took that one step further by adding an element of immediacy. I don't think that any other camera captured so many "moments" in the lives of so many - each one a unique moment that could never be re-captured in the same way.
My artist friend and business partner Josse Ford expressed it perfectly when she said, "Polaroid captured 'moments of truth' whereas with digital photography we don't know what is real anymore". In each photo we could see the talent of the artist - it wasn't something that could be adjusted or photoshopped and made to lie. "Polaroid symbolizes our desire to return to a more honest world".
Artists everywhere embraced the polaroid. Names like Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and William Wegman to name but a few..
Polaroid was founded in the Boston area by the inventor Edwin Land who amassed a team of the best and brightest minds from MIT. It was the Google or Apple of its day. Think about that...
But as we now all know only too well Polaroid didn't change with the times. The company didn't adapt well to the world of video and then digital cameras. In 2001, it declared bankruptcy, and to the great sorrow of instant-film aficionados around the globe, stopped production of instant analog film in June 2008. A sad day....
So it was with great excitement that we recently happened upon "The Impossible Project" - a venture based in The Netherlands with a mission to bring back instant film:
"Impossible b.v. has been founded with the concrete aim to re-invent and re-start production of analog INTEGRAL FILM for vintage Polaroid cameras.."
Impossible b.v. embraces the philosophy of Edwin Land himself:
"Don't undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible"
Don't you just LOVE that!
Further details from The Impossible Project website:
"Impossible b.v. has acquired the complete film production equipment in Enschede (NL) from Polaroid, has signed a 10-year lease agreement on the factory building; and has engaged the most experienced team of Integral Film experts worldwide.
The Impossible mission is NOT to re-build Polaroid Integral film but (with the help of strategic partners) to develop a new product with new characteristics, consisting of new optimised components, produced with a streamlined modern setup. An innovative and fresh analog material, sold under a new brand name that perfectly will match the global re-positioning of Integral Films."
One really special thing we can see is the great love that people have for this project. It symbolizes the desire that we all have to bring back infinite variations of light and creativity - unlimited and unconstrained by the quantization distortions of our current digital age.
Bravo to The Impossible Team!