So as everyone in the photo world knows, Polaroid announced a month or two ago that they're going to stop production of all instant films. Some people say that it's lack of market, but I think it's more that the conglomerate that bought Polaroid a few years ago doesn't want to deal with a small ancient business like that. I'm still hopeful that Fuji or someone will step up and start making more.
I've talked to a number of people, photographers and muggles who are upset about it. I was at Calumet a few weeks ago and I saw some girl buying a stack of film packs for her 600 (that's the consumer square, "shake it like a polaroid picture" ones. Which you're not supposed to actually shake, by the way.) I figured she was an artist, instead it turns out that she was having a party. <blank stare>. My friend Carole was telling me last week how they use polaroids in the puppet world to record sets and puppets for continuity. To make sure they know what hair they used on the green one for that episode last year. Going to CVS to get prints done from her digcam is not good enough. She's looking into portable printers. And of course there are photographers. I was reading a blog by Emily Shur lamenting the loss. And she shoots 4x5 all the time. Life's going to get annoying for her.
I've got about a half box of Type 55 and a half box of Type 79 left, but a couple weeks ago I ordered 3 boxes of 55 from ecamerafilms which is where I've gotten all my stuff in the past. The price had gone up from $70/box to $99/box, but I figured that it was a one time last minute splurge. A couple days later it hadn't shipped and I got an email saying they were out of stock and couldn't get more. So I tried another place, same thing. And then another, same thing.
Boxes of 55 are going for about $150 on ebay right now. That's about $8 a sheet. Too rich for my blood. So I guess what I have left is the end for me. And it's sad, because that's mostly what I used my 4x5 for. I'll get less use once I've got to start going into manhattan and waiting 6 hours to get a photo developed.
I was chatting with a big-time large format photographer last week and he was saying that he just spent $3000 on 8x10 Polaroid stock. That's about 10 boxes at today's prices, and there are 15 in a box. So he just spent three grand to take 150 pictures. Again, too rich for my blood.
Luckily for me, film is a luxury. It's what I shoot when I want to do something for fun, for me, to experiment, or to slow down. For me, it's a sad inconvience, for people like my large format friend or Emily Shur, it's a fundamental problem.
So, a toast to Polaroid. Oh and the glasses were not shot on Polaroid, I just thought they were pretty touch to the post.