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The Fascinating History Of Polaroid Cameras

05.07.2022 04:34 AM
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The Fascinating History Of Polaroid Cameras
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The Fascinating History Of Polaroid Cameras

The idea of the instant camera dates back more than 90 years, when physicist Edwin Herbert Land developed polarizing films during the 1930s and applied for a patent in 1933. The first instant camera was introduced in 1947, and one year after that date the first instant camera was launched commercially.

However the camera is not the exciting invention, but rather the photo where the film strip contains up to 10 photos with a built in photo lab, and at the white bottom edge of each photo a few milliliters of chemicals are stored in 3 small pockets.

When the photo is taken, these pockets are pressed by two rollers so that the pockets of chemicals explode and their contents are distributed to the positive, and the photos themselves are developed within minutes, and there is no longer a need to go to the photo development lab.

Unique picture

Marwan Al-Mozayen, publisher of the photography magazine "Silvergrain Classics" explains the reason for the trend towards relying on instant cameras, because each image is unique from the others as well as the shooting process itself.

He adds, "The photographer experiences the process of developing the image and sees how it comes out of the camera mechanically. In addition, he sees a ghost image that slowly develops into a complete image, and although it is a small event, it has a magical atmosphere."

And instant cameras were used during the decades following their invention as a documentation, proof, or artistic tool by artists. This advanced technology.

Sales of instant cameras declined with the success of digital photography and the use of smartphones in photography, so Polaroid stopped producing instant films and instant cameras as well during 2008, and Fujifilm was the only company that produced instant cameras and films during the period. The transitional period, until Florian Capps revived the impossible project "The Impossible Project" in 2008, and thus the second company producing instant cameras appeared.

Known as one of the pioneers of experimental and analog photography through Lomografie, Caps and two co-workers helped save the Dutch production company Polaroid from collapse, and began developing new instant films.

"It was very complicated because Polaroid films required more than 35 components, and only half were available," Capps said, and he had the support of young creatives who had no connection with Polaroid before.

"I was amazed by this fast and brilliant technique, the square image format with the lower white stripe and the wonderful color properties," said photographer Marcus Elsner, who has been working with Polaroid instant cameras since the mid-1980s.

The German artist confirmed that he has relied on Polaroid instant cameras for nearly 40 years, and uses the SX-70 or 600 series models.

Small image slides can display up to 34,000 different colors, while Polaroid cameras display only 300.

"The camera interprets the colors itself, and includes its own color aesthetics, which can be used in photography and have its own attractiveness, similar to what the photographer does when editing images manually," Elsner added.

Although the quality of historical Polaroid instant cameras such as the SX-70 models was better, Al-Mozayen said that "Fujifilm is the best in instant films" and justified this by saying, "Fujifilm films provide better color rendering, are usually better and are available at a lower cost." Polaroid films are available almost everywhere.

In addition, Fujifilm films feature a high light sensitivity of ISO 800 and a large exposure range.

On the other hand, Al-Mozayen explained that some photographers should expect surprise when using Polaroid films, as they can never be sure how the colors will appear.

"The photographer has to think carefully about the way he wants to take pictures, because every picture is unique and expensive," said photographer Elsner.

Instead of taking many pictures with digital cameras, the photographer has to focus on the clip of the image, which is printed on instant film.

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