Today The Guardian
is running this story
about a company trying to maintain production of Polaroid film. As I've noted several times here
, I don't get the Polaroid thing. And I am not terribly concerned with the technical aspects of photography (other than insisting that it is a technology that we use to do things with and, as such, - trivially - has crucial technical dimensions). In any case, Sean O'Hagan
"Given the right kind of marketing . . . the . . . film will probably succeed, but the bigger question underlying all this techo-primitive innovation is, why do so many of us long for the Polaroid in all its clunky, clumsy, grainy old-fashionedness?"
Good question. Unfortunately, I find his answer incomprehensible (literally, I don't know what he means):
"The answer, I suspect, is to do with the kind of demands a Polaroid camera makes on the user, which are manifestly not the same kind of demands a digital camera makes. One is big, hands-on, clunky, somewhat difficult and, even in an expert's hands, can be hit-and-miss. The other is streamlined, compact, easy, and relatively fail-safe in terms of the end results – you shoot and delete until you capture the image you want. One is somehow "authentic", the other is arguably even more so but does not carry the weight of the relatively recent, thus overly fetishised, pop-cultural past.
Maybe it's me, but this last part (especially) seems like gibberish. It amounts to saying that we now have nostalgia for a technology that we used to like because it had a certain nostalgic character. Huh? That said, if Patti Smith thinks Polaroids are OK, who am I to argue?
Labels: film, O'Hagan, Polaroid