Adieu, Polaroids

As of the end of 2008, Polaroid Corporation has stopped making instant film. Once existing stocks of film packs run out or expire, there’ll be no new Polaroids (Fiji still makes instant film, but in incompatible formats). I’ve never owned or used the SX-70 or any of its descendants, but the end of the Polaroid will be a sad passing indeed—as this 10min advertisement-cum-love letter by Charles and Ray Eames (two of the 20th century’s most prolific culture makers), makes beautifully clear. Birthday parties and crime scenes (or maybe just our idealized imagining of them) will never be quite the same, no matter the real advantages of the digital cameras that spelled the SX-70’s doom. I wonder how long it’ll be before The Polariad, that square, saturated image with its thick white frame, extra-wide at the bottom, will only be about as recognizable and resonant as old Kodak Brownie snapshots?

SX-70,” directed by Charles and Ray Eames for Polaroid (and with scoring by the great Elmer Bernstein!), 1972 :: via Lens Culture

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