It may be hard to believe, but there was a time long before smartphones, even prior to the digital camera phase (you know, that period in the early to mid-2000s when girls would double fist going-out-gear: a digital camera in one hand and their clutch in the other) where people had to actually wait to see a picture after snapping it.
Sometimes, they even had to wait up to (drumroll please) a whole 60 seconds … if you can believe it?
It was the era of the Polaroid camera, a modern marvel during its inception in the late 1940s, and its rise to fame over the ensuing decades. And contrary to popular belief, shaking the print didn’t make it appear any faster. Oh, and blowing on it? Nope. That just made the image worse thanks to your harmful saliva mixing with the developing chemical exposure.
So, if the original Polaroid camera (aka the Model 95) graced the photo enthusiast masses in 1947, then do Polaroid cameras still exist? After all, that was over 70 years ago.
Simple answer? Yes.
Long answer? Yes, they do and they’re actually gaining popularity once again.
You see, the Polaroid camera, invented by Edwin Herbert Land, rose to popularity so fast because it was easy to use and provided instant prints – no darkroom development needed. And while it had many iterations over the next several decades, the core theme of “instant photography” never changed (although it got even faster as the technology improved).
However, by the mid to late-1990s, the Polaroid camera started to see a dip in sales. Slow at first and then faster. Customers were opting for more affordable disposable cameras and shutter-enthusiasts who had the money to spend were getting into the rise of digital photography. By the mid-2000s, smartphones started coming equipped with cameras right out of the box. Cameras with a more powerful and more instant process than the Polaroid could ever deliver. Just point, shoot and share via social media – like some kind of camera magic.
So, do Polaroid cameras still exist and why are they making a comeback? (I told you it was a long answer).
Because nostalgia is a potent emotion, and the phrase, “Everything old is new again” holds a sizable amount of truth. Just like hipsters and audiophiles helped bring vinyl records and cassette tapes back to prominence, today’s youth are helping bring Polaroids back to a shade of its former glory. Generation Z is loaded with digital this and online that. The idea of having something tangible––physical to the touch––draws them in because it’s different. It’s real. There’s also the fact that kids who grew up watching their parents snap vacation photos on Polaroids are trying to recapture that authentic lightning in a bottle for themselves and their children. Whatever the reason is, it’s safe to say that A) Polaroid cameras do still exist and B) It’s still incredibly fun to shake the photo you just snapped, even if it doesn’t do anything to hasten the already super quick development process. But, if it makes you feel better, snap and shake until your heart’s content.
Do you have any old Polaroid pictures laying around? Or tucked away in thick photo albums? Send them to us today and let our team of professional digitizers preserve your memories for years to come!