Instant Dreams, a 91-minute documentary by Dutch filmmaker Willem Baptist, made its world premiere in November last year at the IDFFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), the world’s largest documentary film festival. According to the film's website:
"In this overwhelming cinematic journey, Willem Baptist introduces us to a number of quirky individuals who are connected to Polaroid in a special way: the German artist Stefanie Schneider, who does a photo shoot in the California desert with her last existing original Polaroid stock; New York Magazine editor Christopher Bonanos, who wrote a book about Polaroid’s history and tries to capture the relationship with his son with his instant camera; and a Japanese girl who first discovered the magic of Polaroid in Tokyo. Everyone tries to keep the instant dream alive in his or her way."
This new film follows the release of "The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography" by Errol Morris released in the middle of last year. Dorfman worked studiously with a 20x24" Polaroid camera. She made two exposures for each client, and allowed them to choose the one that they liked more. She would keep the rejected print, hence, the "B-side". You can catch "The B-side" on Netflix.
As you've all heard by now, the big photography news this past week, other than the announcement of some camera called the iphone X, is the return of the Polaroid brand in a big way with a new analog camera.
I think it's incredibly shrewd, firstly for the Impossible Project to acquire Polaroid, and then to rebrand itself as Polaroid Originals. Polaroid is an iconic company with 80 years of storied history, and continues to have a niche in the hearts and more importantly, minds of consumers young and old. Whether you've been around since Polaroid's heydays, or new to instant photography, you have probably heard of Polaroid.
It's a good start for Polaroid Originals. The new camera itself is not that big a deal. And I certainly hope they will continue to improve the new film as well as support the vintage formats. The rebranding, however, marks a renewed commitment to "the future of analog instant photography." And that's what excites me the most.
Looks like The Impossible Project, which acquired Polaroid (how's that for irony?) back in May, is set to make a big announcement next week. Stay tuned.
Haven’t we all heard that Polaroid is dead? Turns out it is more like the undead. For someone who loves zombies like I do, that’s wonderful news.
A new book titled The Polaroid Project has just been published by Thames and Hudson to accompany a major traveling exhibition. As its subtitle suggests, the book explores the relationship between Polaroid’s technological innovations and the impressive variety of photographic images produced with instant cameras and materials. The book features some work rarely seen before in previous books about Polaroid, but the meat of the book is the essays written by the curators of the exhibition as well as some of the leading photo critics and historians.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth TX
June 3-September 3 2017
WestLicht Museum for Photography, Vienna
December 5 2017-March 4 2018
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Hamburg
March 16-June 17 2018
C/O Berlin, Berlin
July 7-September 23 2018
Musée McCord, Montreal
June 14-September 15 2019
MIT Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Late 2019, early 2020