Box of Memories

Re-submitted for the Save Polaroid group.


Your father's Polaroid. This is the camera of a photographer. Not as predictable or sterile as a digi-cam; an elegant instrument for a more civilized age. For over 4 generations, Polaroid film cameras were an icon of fun, spontaneity and joy, before the dark times... before the acquisition.


Polaroid's announcement that it is abandoning film is another example of the misunderstanding that digital imaging must replace film, as opposed to coexisting with it. The argument is that it's the same thing but better. It's not the same at all. And that couldn't be more true than it is with instant film.


For me, watching a polaroid picture develop is like watching a memory form right before your eyes. It appears out of a hazy nothingness and slowly forms into a beautiful but often imperfect image. A picture that mirrors the imperfections of life and memory.


I can't argue with the convenience and clarity of digital imaging. I use my digital camera all the time. It takes beautiful pictures and I don't have to worry about loading film. But of the thousands of digital photos I have taken in my life, 99.9% of them will likely sit on a hard drive as raw data for an eternity, never to be transfered to paper, displayed, or shared.


With instant film you don't get to make the choice of whether or not a picture is "good enough" to make a print. You get a print every time. You can't just hit delete because someone was making a weird face, or the framing wasn't quite right or in some way the image doesn't live up to the unattainable idea of perfection we have all have in our heads from being exposed to too many photoshopped images. The picture comes out no mater what. And even if we don't like what we see when it develops, it's life, and chances are, like the photo above, we'll find it in a box years later and be thankful that we have it - dirty shorts, nervous smile and all.




And just in case anyone questions the length of my Star Wars devotion - I've been on the bandwagon since the beginning. This was taken around 1978 at the Eastbrook Mall in Willimantic CT. I believe I was 3 or 4. I've always looked older than I am.


I remember asking Darth what a button on his chest plate was for. He said it let him talk to his ship. Pfffft. I don't think so.

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Uploaded on February 20, 2008