By Patricia Daukantas
Polaroid lovers, you’re not alone.
Ever since the venerable Polaroid Corp. announced earlier this year that it will discontinue its remaining instant-film products, aficionados of the self-developing, one-of-a-kind prints have been banding together in cyberspace to celebrate the Polaroid as an artistic medium and share photos and tips.
A few days ago, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver (U.S.A.) paid tribute to Polaroids. Art writer Mary Voelz Chandler reminded readers of the many ways artists have used Polaroid film. In the same issue of that newspaper, a self-taught Polaroid photographer/artist ponders her technological future. The paper’s photography staff went out for one day with their old instant-film cameras and assembled the results into a video that includes a classic American television commercial for instant photography.
The New York-based blog Gothamist.com found a fellow Big Apple resident who has offered to send anybody, for a modest fee, an original Polaroid photo of something in New York City. Joe Howansky is also interested in trading his instant photos for Polaroids of exotic locales around the world.
The popular social-networking site LiveJournal has a community called the polaroids. More than 5,400 people have signed up to post their instant photos, old and new.
Another online community, Polanoid.net, was started by several Europeans who were, as they put it, “hungry for real analog, good smelling pictures in a digital world.” Users have uploaded more than 150,000 scanned, and sometimes manipulated, instant photos to that Web site.
Even CNN has gotten into the act. iReport.com—the cable news network’s beta site for “citizen journalism”—has a forum for sharing readers' favorite Polaroid snapshots. The photos that have already been uploaded include this poignant image of someone standing in front of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain 40 years ago. A floral wreath on the upstairs balcony marks the spot.
Finally, in case you’re wondering how much longer Polaroid instant film will be around, the company has provided this list of projected availabilities of film types, plus the expiration dates of the last batches of products.
2008-05 May, Optics history, Photography