Remember the days of frustration and missed opportunities for Kodak moments?
The art of printed, hard copy images arranged in compendiums and albums seemed to fade out of fashion and favour giving way to a new, tech savvy lust for instant cam-gratification.
As the trend tides change, the camera movement too is flashing back for a retro resurgence. A new generation of photographers are ditching their digital technology and discovering a new, analogue way of looking at things.
The roots of instant photography can be traced to the 1940s, when scientist Edwin Land went on holiday with his family. He was taking a few snaps of his children for the photo album, as most fathers do, when his daughter posed an interesting question: She wondered why the photos were not available to view instantaneously. For Land, this moment of temporary bafflement acted as an inspirational spark. His work resulted in the release of the first Polaroid camera, the Land Model 95, in 1948.
It was the arrival of the world’s first digital sensor that threw the final spanner in the factory works. Given the choice, consumers were delighted at the concept of taking endless photos without having to worry about costly film and printing and happy snappers were seen toting the now ubiquitous camera at special occasions and adventures.
The factories might have stayed silent forever without the intervention of a film photography enthusiast from Vienna named Florian Kaps. Saddened by the news of Polaroid’s demise, Kaps decided to take action. Working with two partners, he started his own small instant-film production firm. The Impossible Project appeared to be aptly named, but the mission turned out to be a huge success. By marketing vintage chic to a younger audience, the company sold over 500,000 units and generated $4 million in revenue in its first year of operation.
Kaps’ own introduction to instant image-making came in 2004, when he took his first Polaroid shot. In his eyes, it was
“the most analog photographic material still available in a more and more digital world.” He says many young consumers are turning to physical experiences as an escape from screens.
He comes alive when describing the instant print:
“The pictures slowly develop in the palm of your hand and are real. You can touch them, smell them, and even lick them,” Kaps says.