Since its introduction in the 1970s, the instant film camera camera Polaroid has been an iconic staple in western photography. The iconic square photos produced had left its cultural mark even as we get deeper into the age of digital and smartphone cameras. But even with a camera on every phone Polaroid has stuck around enticing younger people as a fun novelty and to artists who embrace its history and the distinct style of the Polaroid picture.
Polaroid has also changed with the times introducing new formats and cameras to continue producing instant pictures, The official products page is full of new cameras such as the popular Pic-300 hundred series that continues the instant film tradition, just in a thinner format.
However this progress has come at a price, in 2008 Polaroid announced that they would no longer produce the iconic square instant film for their cameras. Suddenly the classic Polaroid and every instant film camera was going to be rendered useless as the only compatible film was going to be discontinued. It was going to mark the end of an era.
This is until, like a brave knight riding in to save the day, the Impossible Project was born. Days before it was set to be scraped, a group of photographers, chemists, and entrepreneurs bought one of the last instant film production factories in the Netherlands It took the Impossible project almost eight years to bring life back into the factory, having to recreate supply chains, recreate the proper chemicals and formulas to get their film identical as possible to the original. Their full story is up on their website.
Soon the Impossible Project film was hitting the shelves in Camera stores globally and shipping millions of film packs. They soon expanded on the original creating black and white film along with predetermined shades and hues to expand the film to artists and photographers.
But what cultural heritage is the Impossible project trying to preserve with the Polaroid instant film? While instant film has been a tool for preserving family moments and times with friends it was risen to the art world when pop artist Andy Warhol would document large parties in New York and other American cities. He would be able to capture images of the stars and celebrities in an almost intimate way. He took portraits of movie stars, singers, and the occasional drag queen. Warhol was famous for bringing the everyday products of consumerist America as art, and he had done the same with the Polaroid. Now it was more than just a type of film, but a symbol of artistic style and history.
The impossible project has not only helped save this important legacy in photography but it working to push it further by creating the Impossible I-1 Analog camera. On sale for 229£ online This new instant film camera was designed and built by the Impossible team and is the analog camera for the digital age. Features include a state of the art flash system with new multi color bulbs, allowing the photographer to have more control over the color of the image. The other new feature is an app for smartphones that can take a picture, set a time, set the focus and everything else on the camera all remotely. The Impossible I-1 Analog camera is a marvel of technology created for the arts and helps bring the art of instant film to a professional level.