Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In the Days Before Digital Cameras

One of the things I hate about the winter months is that I don't get as many opportunities go out photographing.  Usually by the time I'm getting out of work it's getting dark or already dark and I generally don't have enough time to go out somewhere.  So that leaves lots of night shots or indoor shots.  I can only take so many pictures of my models and my desk, so that limits my opportunies.

Sometimes opportunities present themselves.   We have an electronics recycling table at work (as part of our ISO-14001 efforts) and sometimes odd stuff finds it way to that table.  Normally I would not take pictures of it but today I could not pass up that opportunity.
The item sitting on the table was an old Polaroid Instant Film camera.  Well this one was not that old and probably came from the late 80's or early 90's.  According to one of the people that used it on occasion, it probably still works if we can get film for it.  At any rate it is a Polaroid Sun 600.
The Polaroid Company was founded in 1937 by Edwin Land.  He used knowledge gained in polariztion to create sunglasses and was pretty successful at it.  The company was pretty innovative but couldn't capitalize on much of that.
The instant film camera came about in 1948.  This film contains all the chemicals need for developing and fixing the photo.  Anyone who's taken a film photography class knows that the process for getting a picture is quite involved or it can be.  The instant film camera put photography in the realm of amateurs and anyone could take a picture.
Polaroid had almost exclusivity to the market after suing and winning against Kodak in 1986 but that didn't help them when digital cameras came around.  They were one of the early developers of digital technology but never really captured any of the market.  This would eventually lead to their downfall.

In 2001, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and most of their assets (including the name) was sold to Bank One.  They went on to form a new company using the Polaroid name.  In 2007, they stopped making cameras and later in 2009, they stopped making film.  In 2008, they filed for Chapter 11 again after some shenanigans.

Now they are making digital cameras that are similar to the instant film cameras in that you can get a print right from the camera.  Might be interesting.  There is also a company that is making film for the old instant film cameras.  So I am tempted.

At any rate, this was a pretty cool find and I'm almost tempted to see if I can find film for it.

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