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Polaroid Revisited

Posted: 05/06/10 08:17 AM

It wasn’t that long ago that Polaroid cameras were all the rage. The technology was exciting: press a button, get a picture. You didn’t even have to drop the film off at the drug store and wait a few days. But when digital photography came along, Polaroids didn’t seem quite so amazing. The company faded away.

Well, let’s not write an obituary just yet. On today’s show, we talk to Dave Bias. He’s with a group called The Impossible Project. They’re Polaroid enthusiasts who managed to buy up the last remaining factory making Polaroid film just as it was about to be dismantled. Now, The Impossible Project is manufacturing and selling it’s own line of instant film to be used with that old Polaroid you have in the back of the closet. We talk to Dave about film, cameras, chemicals, and what memories are supposed to look like.

Here’s are two interesting write-ups of what The Impossible Project did.

And here’s a video that I was unable to embed. But you’ll enjoy it.

Comments | Filed Under: photography

Does Lady Gaga go with business casual at Polaroid?

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/05/10 04:27 PM

We’re planning to run a really interesting interview about Polaroid film tomorrow. And in our research, we ran across this news item that Lady Gaga FINALLY got a real job. And right here in our home state of Minnesota! Ms. Gaga is a creative director for Polaroid, presently headquartered over in Minnetonka.

Through clever detective work, we’ve deduced that the address is at 4050 Baker Road in Minnetonka:


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We’d pop over there and say hi, it’s just across town, but she probably has a lot of meetings and stuff. Plus we don’t know what time she takes her lunch break.

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The Ever Evolving World of Polaroid

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/04/10 12:05 PM

One of our colleagues mentioned that Polaroid has a new instant camera out. I hadn’t heard about it so it was a bit like being told that new Betamax players were coming on to the market. But sure enough, the Polaroid 300 is now available in stores for about $90. Add in $10 for a 10-pack of film cartridges, each of which can take 10 pictures. (So you’re in for a dime a photo) (Good math, John).

But as I read up on this, what really caught my attention was the Impossible Project. Turns out that a couple years ago the Dutch factory where Polaroid film was made was about to be shut down and all the equipment destroyed but it was saved at the last minute because a “crazy Austrian entrepreneur” happened to be drinking beer in the right place at the right time. His group, The Impossible Project, bought the factory and continued production. Their film, a variation on the classic Polaroid film, is now being sold.

The whole thing reminds me a bit of our record store discussion the other day where a technology gets replaced but then reemerges as a niche product among enthusiasts. Just as a vinyl record enthusiast would argue that the physical medium is crucial to the enjoyment of the art it contains, so too I imagine the instant film enthusiast would argue the merits of holding a photograph in your hand instead of seeing it on Facebook.

Anyway, we’re going to see if we can get someone from The Impossible Project on in the next few days.

Comments | Filed Under: photography

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