Friday, September 13, 2013

Polaroid Project

Polaroid Sun 600 camera.For the longest time I had an urge to try taking pictures with a real Polaroid camera — another, now vintage, type of photography that I have never experienced. The project was hard for two reasons — I didn’t have a Polaroid camera and what’s even worse was the fact that Polaroid stopped producing the film back in 2008.

Barber shop. Impossible film.Some time ago I asked my dad to keep an eye open for an old Polaroid camera when he visits garage sales and flea markets. It took him quite a while, but one day he found one of 600 type cameras and was able to obtain it for all of $5. The camera had an old spent cartridge in it and was showing faint signs of life. Cartridge is the thing that powers the camera — batteries are inside of it.

Vika and Ignat. Polaroid film.I figured it was worth a try and ordered a pack of film by Impossible Project. They are an indy shop that tries to keep Polaroid hobby going for a lot of people with some mixed success. The pack ran me $24 for 8 shots — not cheap by any standards. I was happy to find out that my camera came to live as soon as I plugged a new cartridge in. I was not happy to find out that there is nothing “instant” about Impossible Project film — it takes 30-40 minutes for a photo to appear.

Some Polaroid photographs.After using up all of this cartridge we ended up with only a pair of decent shots. A lot of them just came out very blurry or overexposed no matter the time of day I tried to take the shots. I figured that to fully experience this camera I needed to find myself a pack of real Polaroid film. Of course that involved a gamble, since by now all the film that can be bought on eBay is expired film. And even though film could be OK, the batteries could be bad.

Impossible Project and Polaroid film packs.Either way I started following some auctions and ended up winning one. The auction was for a pair of 10 shot cartridges that expired at the end of 2009. I paid $40 with shipping included for both of them and eagerly awaited their arrival. And what do you know — they ended up being in working order and original Polaroid film is indeed instant. Half the fun is actually watching a picture appear right in front of your eyes.

Random Polaroid shots.All in all I’m quite happy with the whole experience. I still have an unopened cartridge with 10 more shots left, but out of the pictures that I already did take I like some of them a lot. Too bad Polaroid wasn’t able to keep this business profitable enough to keep it going.

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