Arts and Entertainment

Polaroid develops for the last time

By Denebola
Published: September 2008

By Emily Kline

After more than half a century of creating instant cameras and film, Polaroid announced the unthinkable on its website: it will “cease manufacturing of instant film products in 2008 to direct focus onto digital cameras and printers.

Although most South students will mourn the loss of polaroids for personal use, they are also greatly utilized in many professional fields including archaeology, medicine, and law enforcement.

Currently, the website is encouraging visitors and fans to sign petitions and write to film companies that still produce instant film and cameras in the hopes of rejuvenating the market for them.

According to Bloomberg News, the closing of five instant film producing plants by the end of 2008 will lead to more than 500 lay-offs.

“The decline of this company has been heartbreaking for me, photography teacher Robert Bouchal said.

“It was part of my childhood, senior and photography student Sarah Coolidge agreed. “I know everyone thinks digital is really convenient, but it’s not as beautiful or artistic. It’s too computerized and just seems less personal.

As professional and amateur photographers alike have come to realize, there is a very limited supply of Polaroid instant film still available. This has created a rush to buy instant film in bulk either at photography stores or online. “I have a feeling they’re testing the markets to see what fans are willing to pay for this versatile material, Bouchal said.

In early September, Polaroid announced that it would resume supplying three types of 3×4 peel-apart film manufactured through a company whose name has been kept confidential. While this may seem like cause to rejoice, Polaroid admitted that due to new chemical processes, the film would not be the same or possess the same characteristics as traditional Polaroid film consumers are accustomed to.

This information has led many to believe that the unnamed manufacturer is Fujifilm, a competitor of Polaroid. Despite the fact that Fuji already manufactures comparable instant film, adding the Polaroid brand name to the packing would benefit sales.

Polaroid film was used in image transfers and emulsion lifts; however, due to the implementation of water-based chemistry, photographers may not be able to use the new film for these purposes.

Unfortunately, if you’re a Polaroid fan, there’s not much you can do right now.

Write letters to major film companies to encourage them to continue to produce instant film and get on E-Bay to scoop up the remaining film. The loss of Polaroids is merely another snapshot of the dying world of film.

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