Instant Photos: They’re back

Approx read: 2 mins

Remember when Polaroid stopped making film? The folks at the Impossible Project do. On that dark day in 2008, the analogue photography fans banded together to buy the last Polaroid film factory, located in Enschede, the Netherlands. After two years, the group managed to reverse-engineer the instant film, which Polaroid inventor Edwin Land described as one of the world’s most complex chemical reactions, done in the palm of one’s hand.

These days, Impossible sell instant film that fits in also-for-sale refurbished Polaroids in birthday party colour or art school black and white. The outfit hosts gallery shows and tutorials, but they aren’t snobs. Available accessories include retro-looking accordion boxes that render your digital image into reality. Instant gratification doesn’t come cheap, the film goes for about 3 bucks a photo, but one can’t put a price on being hip.

French designers at Prynt have a different take on instant photography. Their $99 smartphonecase doubles as a Polaroid-style printer for digital photos. Click your phone into the case, snap the photo, and in the time it takes to listen to the chorus of OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya!’ you’ll have your picture.  Neat, huh?

It gets better. Point your device at a Prynt print, and it can read cloud-stored video embedded in the image. (Jazz hands photo becomes Macarena video) Although the ways that politicians and other sexters will embarrass themselves is endless, the augmented reality snap isa great idea for funsies and serious secret messages. Does it come with a decoder ring?

We spend tons of hours de-digitising our HD photos to make them look retro. The trend hasmade an industry out of the practise, and the folks at Instagram very, very rich. Retro or not, there’s something rare and wonderful about sharing real photos with friends, especially whilst travelling. There’s something magical about the heady arc of expectation one feels as a Polaroid develops right there in one’s hand. Hard copies of instant photos can keep folks out of trouble, too, like ‘cash for crash’ hustles. You can print two out of your Prynter, one for you and one for the perp. Hey, at 30 cents a pop, you can also print one for the officer of law enforcement and public safety. Last of all, instant photos are paramount for any time travelling, robot-crunching Lotharios.


Sarah is a blogger, writer and amateur palaeontologist from New Orleans. When not writing or digging dinosaurs, she teaches English.