For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having a bit of a photography documentary feast; have a search around Amazon Prime and Netflix, and you’ll find loads. Last night I watched, ‘Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film’; the movie documents the…well, the clue’s in the title. I don’t want to give away the plot, but it’s a bit like any movie about the Titanic – it always hits an iceberg and sinks at the end. Polaroid sails into a different iceberg, but the conclusion is pretty much the same.
What was apparent, from the photographers interviewed in this movie, is that, to them, the passing of Polaroid instant film was a disaster not dissimilar to the death of a loved one. One artist spoke about how on the day he found out about Polaroid’s demise he began the stages of grief. A woman broke down, crying, and asked for the camera to be turned off, “I can’t do this anymore”, she sobbed. I did read about an English photographer who’d shot a pack of film through his SX-70 every single day for fifteen years – I worked out that this ten a day habit would have resulted in 54,750 final prints worth the cost of a Porsche 911 Carrera PDK today. These people sincerely loved Polaroid film.
Something else I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks, or trying to do, is to write about my favourite 35mm film – Fuji Superia 400 X-TRA, but I don’t know what to say, other than it looks great. It’s also cheap – for the price of a Porsche 911 Carrera I could buy 18750 rolls, which if I shot one roll a day, would keep me going for another fifty-one years, that’ll save any tears should Fuji stop making it before I’m ninety-eight years-old.
All images here were shot on Fuji Superia 400 using an Olympus MjuII and a Nikon F4 & F100. Developing and scanning by Canadian Film Lab