According to this article in yesterday's Washington Post, another of the signature elements of my childhood has finally disappeared.
Say goodbye to the Polaroid instant-picture camera.
I remember graduating from the old Kodak Brownie to my spiffy Polaroid - the one I had to take out of the case and expand the bellows before using.
I remember the stench of the nasty chemicals that the internal rollers squeezed out of the little pack on the edge of the print to develop the image in the open air. I remember the little sponge applicator of fixative that had to be smeared across the finished image so it would be protected from sunlight, air, and fingerprints.
It was a pain in the neck, but it was really neat. Sigh.
Of course, the Polaroid - the cutting edge technology of its time - couldn't begin to survive against multi-megapixel digital cameras built into cell phones. Digital imaging is much more accurate and less messy, and you get your results instantly instead of waiting days or hours (for regular film prints) or minutes (for the Polaroid). But I loved my Polaroid camera.
I now shoot photos with my Canon Digital Rebel XT, not to mention with my cell phone. I know that nostalgia colors all the things that used to frustrate me about the Polaroid (not the least of which was the occasional uneven distribution of the chemicals across the image, which led to some nasty pictures). But I still can't help thinking that photography was, at that time, more fun.
Oh, well...I guess someday I'll look back wistfully at my antique Digital Rebel XT as my grandchildren show off their new 10 terapixel holographic cameras that can take your perfectly-focused picture from 50 miles away in complete darkness while automatically smoothing out wrinkles and erasing age spots.
But it's just a shame that time and advancing technology have conspired to erase something else from my childhood.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.