Old Joke. I’d laugh and laugh if it wasn’t horribly true to life in the photo business.
Those of you who have watched the Polaroid story unfold in the last few years will know what I mean. When Dear old Dr. Land turned in his dinner pail a great deal went out of the company – innovation, business sense, and money, for a start. It all seemed to implode, and then not implode, and then implode again in a different country under new management.
We saw the disappearance of any number of their products that were good and useful and the substitution of other products that were …ummm…ummm…products. The logo makers. brand designers, graphic artists, and promoters all bored holes in the hull of the company and eventually the decks went under. Then enthusiasts in Holland told us that they were restarting a plant to produce films to revive the Polaroid cameras and the whole concept of instant print photography.
The Dutch are diligent workers and have produced many wonderful products – Cambo cameras and Edam cheese come to mind. DAF motorcars are amongst the leading luxury marques. Many of their tulips were used by the NATO military in the defence of Europe and the Russians never crossed the Fulda Gap…
The films, however, from the restarted Polaroid plant, and the refurbished Polaroid cameras that have been shipped out to use the films, are a pretty good illustration of why you should be careful resuscitating things – sometimes you get a live patient and sometimes you get a lot of toast. Sort of off-colour toast that has bits that don’t develop. Out of focus toast. Toast that costs $ 4 a slice.
The thing is made more awkward by the fact that a well-known Japanese camera, lens, and film maker produces instant pack film that is completely successful – and cameras that use it. It is the standard fodder for studio test shots and for passport cameras. It’s also $ 4 a slice but the bread is fresh and the topping is superb.