The End of Polaroid

In News on February 12, 2008 at 11:27 am


A piece of sad news heard over the weekend: the Polaroid instant film will cease to be produced by 2009. I’ll miss the film–I think it’s one of the most soulful methods of capturing a moment in ways that digital cameras can’t. I’ll miss the harsh lighting, the waiting to develop moments, the fascination people have whenever someone whips out a Polaroid Instant Camera.

But I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’ll see of it–it’s bound to comeback as a form of nostalgic art, like Lomography is. From the Sunday Herald:

THE DIGITAL age has claimed another victim. First it was the VHS recorder, then the humble transistor radio. Now it’s the turn of the Polaroid camera.

Yesterday, the company behind the iconic instant camera announced it was to stop making the film used by Polaroid enthusiasts, because there is no longer a market for it.

Three factories will close in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands, resulting in 450 job losses. The company stopped making the cameras for commercial use in 2006 and halted production of the consumer models last year.


“We’re trying to re-invent Polaroid so it lives on for the next 30 to 40 years,” said Tom Beaudoin, the firm’s president.

This reinvention means developing Polaroid-branded digital cameras, and portable printers for mobile phone images.

Polaroid film, which has been around since the late-1940s, became a big hit with people who wanted instant results from their camera, and in 1994 its popularity peaked with sales reaching $2.3bn.

However, these figures dropped dramatically to $752 million in 2003 as customers moved to digital cameras.

Polaroid, which was bought out by Petters Group Worldwide three years ago after filing for bankruptcy, will make enough instant film to last into 2009.

It plans to license the technology to third-party companies, leaving Fujifilm as the only remaining supplier of instant film in the United States.

The blame for Polaroid’s demise has been laid squarely at the door of digital photography because consumers can achieve the same quick results with the added bonus of being able to edit the images and print them at home.

  1. […] The End of Polaroid The End of Polaroid Posted in News on February 12, 2008 by John [ polaroid.png] … , Mexico and the Netherlands, resulting in 450 job losses. The company stopped making the cameras […]

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