Thursday, March 15, 2007

Intelligent By Design, Revival Of The Fittest

This guy saw me at Starbucks one weekend day and wanted to ask me some questions about "a strange old camera" he had. He'd seen my camera on the table and thought I just might know something about his camera. I forget if he told me that he found it packed away at the house or picked it up at a yard sale. We've reached that point in history that even the name "Polaroid" no longer conjures up the aura of cutting edge technology. An ever growing percentage of the population has never seen nor heard of Polaroid cameras. First One-Hour mini-labs took a big chunk of their business, then digital pounded its nail into the coffin. So it was no surprise when he asked me if I knew whether film was still available for his camera.

Back in the late 1940's, when Dr. Land first invented the process, carrying a massive expensive camera that gave you eight black and white pictures only a minute after the exposures were made was nothing short of a miracle. The film was expensive and you had to coat the prints with some gloop that came in the film package to keep the prints from fading. As the years went by ten second film was introduced, and then coaterless film followed by Polacolor in the early 1960's. Roll film gave way to pack films, and this series of cameras hit the market. The roll films are long gone but Polaroid still makes a few types of pack film. You can't find them at every drug store these days, but I told him where he could pick up a pack. He left happy and I never saw him again.


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