Mama don’t take my Polaroid away…

Ok, ok, I realize that the song actually refers to Kodachrome film, but no matter what type of film you are referring to, the result is the same, it is disappearing and is not coming back.

In 2008, Polaroid announced that it would be discontinuing its instant film and was shutting down the factories that produced it. For many years, Polariod was a novelty item. It allowed near instant viewing of pictures and was used by amateurs and professionals alike. As a former freelance wedding photographer myself I used the film to do proofs using medium format cameras to ensure that lighting and other settings were just right before committing to putting the image on film, especially since there were only 12 shots on a roll and everyone had to count.

But progress prevailed and digital cameras with LCD screens allowed real-time instant viewing without the wait or need to let the film dry before pulling off the paper. This isn’t a bad thing but as momentum gathered behind the digital photography movement, the demand for instant prints also grew.

About 10 years ago I attended a photography seminar and one of the topics was marketing of images during weddings or other types of events. With a digital camera and a portable printer, a photographer could provide high quality photographs in a variety of sizes from wallets to 8x10s while the guests ate, danced and were merry. At the time this was still a novel idea but it showed that the demand for actual, physical prints were still present. Today, digital picture frames offer some of the same benefits and can even be displayed in the home allowing for multiple images to be displayed in the same space.

The same principle applies to some of the modern billboards. Instead of just a single company being able to advertise in a space, electronic billboards can cycle through a number of ads.

So the demise of instant images on film led to the birth of a second generation of instant images that provide both individuals and businesses with the opportunity to showcase still and moving pictures to small or large groups.


2 Responses to “Mama don’t take my Polaroid away…”

  1. tb72182 Says:

    I am so sad that polaroid is going away. It’s ironic because I dont even own a polaroid camera, but it was always fun to use one with friends in the 90’s when I was in high school. There is just a novelty about it I will miss. I am grieving for the loss of what would have been. 🙂 Technology is scary and changing everything we once knew!

  2. chelsmarie Says:


    This past weekend I drove from the Washington DC area to Cape Cod/Boston and back. During the drive I saw several electronic billboards and thought that they were all great used of advertising space.

    Unfortunately, the Maryland Department of Highways doesn’t agree. I surprised to learn that in many cases these variable message signs (or VMSs) are illegal throughout Maryland.

    Initially I figured they were illegal because they were distracting to drivers. However, that is not the case, I was even more surprised to find out that they are illegal because of licensing and permits.

    Although they carry a 500 fine and confiscation of the signage, not one has yet to be taken down.

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