Once upon an instant gratification

I took a walk down memory lane the other day flipping through prints I made with Polaroid films., and thought that I should write a post about it.

It dawned on me that even though digital photography allowed instant review of a picture, it wasn’t the same as a Polaroid print. Everything about making a Polaroid print was unique. You take a picture like you would with film and you actually go about developing and printing the picture. The only thing is that you do it without the need for a darkroom and the print is available in about a minute.

With digital photography, it is possible to have your prints straight after shooting, especially with a small portable dye-sub printer. But there is something missing about the workflow. The element of surprise was always there and the development process was actually fun – you pull the film over some roller mechanism to spread the chemicals that develop and print at the same time, wait approximately 45 – 60 seconds and peel off the the film from the final print. I can imagine smelling the chemical, feeling getting smeared by development paste as I write this.

All these is absent with a fully digital workflow. Not to mention that, even with a foolproof workflow devised by Polaroid, things can still go wrong – the temperature was too cold or too hot, you got distracted for a short while before peeling, film stuck in dirty rollers, etc. Does a manual workflow and the possibility of not getting what you hope for contributes to making doing something fun? I guess if your paycheck did not depend on it, it would. I had a great time making prints with them. Thank you Edwin Herbert Land for such a brilliant invention.


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