We thought the days of Polaroid prints were over. But, thanks to a group of dedicated individuals, we may be seeing mini-artworks such as these, with their iconic square white borders, again.
In Enschede, Holland, a group of former Polaroid factory workers have teamed together to form The Impossible Project; an attempt to revive instant analog film for use in vintage polaroid cameras. The doors to the Dutch factory closed in 2008, when, after a steady 10-year decline, Polaroid’s “instant integral” film, once considered one of photographic history’s most brilliant innovations, was held to be out of date in the digital age.
Some of the workers had been at the factory their entire working lives, and are passionate about seeing the machines up and running again before the year is out. As the Impossible Project's website explains here, the aim is not to convince Polaroid to go back into production, but instead to develop their own brand of film which works in the same way.
Enthusiastically supporting the project is Urban Outfitters, who recently staged an exclusive sale evening with an accompanying exhibition about the project at their Oxford Circus store (It could still be there, I'll check it out).
Tim Bradshaw of the FT visited the factory workers in Enschede to discuss the project, accompanying his article with some haunting photographs of the desolate factory. Read it here.
Urban Outfitters are supporting with the sale of exclusive 'saved' polaroid cameras and film, available to buy soon (possibly to coincide with your generous relative's christmas shopping)
This is the number of films that were produced in the Enschede factory under Polaroid ownership. The photos are of the employees who worked there. Now a dozen of them are trying to revive it. Photo by Tim Bradshaw