Three weeks ago, I was given an ancient Polaroid camera by the only other Maldivian at Luther. He was about to leave back to the Maldives, and was clearing up his home. After stocking me up on tons of warm, winter clothes he casually handed me the camera which was in a beautiful box. As a photography enthusiast, I couldn’t contain my excitement at being given an instant camera. I had never owned one before nor even seen one, and had no idea how to even work the thing. After some fiddling, I realized that the film was expired and I had to order some new film online.
After a couple of minutes online, I found out that the Polaroid Company had stopped producing film back in 2008. However, a couple of young entrepreneurs bought one of the old Polaroid factories and started producing film under the label The Impossible Project. I was first shocked to see that the films cost about US $30 with eight pictures in the film (almost US$ 4 per pic!!!!). After some hesitation, I ordered one black and white film pack. And then came the long two week wait for the film to arrive.
As soon as I got the email that the film had arrived last Tuesday, I ran up to the post office and got the package. Here it was, the moment of truth. Polaroid cameras do not have a built in battery, but instead the battery to power the camera comes with the film pack. This meant that I had no idea that if the camera was functioning or not. My Maldivian friend said he got it from a friend but he never had the time to try it. I took a deep breath, and replaced the old film with the brand new Impossible Project film. The camera started making some squeaky noises and out came the dark filter of the film (which indicates the camera is working).
Within one hour, I had already taken three out of the precious eight pictures in the film. The first picture I took was picture of me at the mirror. However, I was too excited and nervous about the first picture that my hands were shaking and the photo came out all blurred. Since the Impossible Project is very new to film production, it does not have resilience of the old polaroid films, and as soon as the picture comes out it has to be shielded from bright lights and left at a dark place to develop for it to not get ruined. With the first pic I was too late to get into a dark place which I think might have also contributed to the blurriness.
While I am writing this, I have only three pics left on the camera, but I am already excited to get some more film…. maybe in color this time. For people who into photography, I would definitely suggest trying an instant camera because there is something about taking a picture and seeing it develop before your eyes. And the fact that there is one and only copy of the photo makes every capture more meaningful and valuable. Where to get a Polaroid camera you ask…garage sales. This first time I went to a garage sale in the US, I found two Polaroid cameras for less than US $3, and if you are lucky it might still have some vintage original Polaroid film. Next time you see one, get it. It is definitely worth it. :D
Until next time,