Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Part of the Past Fades Away...

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.



Jean-Luc Picard said...

Despite modern advances, we still have an affection for the past.

Mike said...

Uhhhhh, I still have one of those. Haven't used it in a long time but since the batteries are in the film pack (yes I remember that), I assume the thing would still work.

John A Hill said...

I remember the Polaroid pictured in your post. I have a later model somewhere but haven't used it in ages.

Personally, I think that the name had much to do with demise of the camera...Polaroid; sounds like a nasty inflammation that you'd rather not talk about!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Oh I loved those Polaroids! I actually have a recent snap of myself with Peter Noone from his meet and greet a few years back

noisms said... gives us those nice bright colours, gives us those dreams of summers, makes you think all the world's a sunny day...

Sorry, your post just made me think of that song. Paul Simon KNEW THE FUTURE.