Shake it like a Polaroid picture

(Sherry Han/The AQ)

In the digital era of cellphone selfies and disappearing Snapchats, instant-print cameras have made a comeback.

“You take a picture and it’s a one-shot deal,” said Polaroid camera owner Whitney Beals. “It’s really good at capturing moments as they are. It’s a lot of fun.”

Instant-print cameras were invented by Edwin Land in 1948, remained popular in the 1980s and early 1990s but thereafter fell out of fashion until they were revitalized a few years ago. Among a generation adapted to the digital world, there seems to be something nostalgic and special about the old-fashioned cameras that instantly churn out a printed photo.

Liz Clarke, assistant professor of media, arts and culture at University of New Brunswick, said photo quality is dependent on trends in technology.

“Polaroids have a different aesthetic, which has its own value. They bring something different to the image,” she said.

Octavia Cook, another millenial Polaroid camera owner, enjoys taking pictures at parties, during special events and while travelling. She agrees Polaroid cameras bring something more to the picture.

“I take a lot of pictures with it when I’m travelling. It looks super cool and adds more to the picture,” said Cook, describing a photo she took of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Some people choose to string their Polaroid pictures from wall to wall, carry around a special picture in their wallet or make crafts out of them.

With her Polaroid, Beals enjoys capturing moments, memories and taking pictures without a particular purpose.

“You take one picture and you get one picture. So if you want to give it to someone, it’s like a little gift,” she said.

The pricey cost of film makes the pictures more valuable too. It costs roughly $10 for a package of 10 film, which equates to a dollar a picture. However, it costs less to buy the film in large packages.

“Everything you do costs money, so you might as well spend it on something that you actually have fun with,” said Beals.

Sales are high for Polaroids too. Fujifilm, a maker of instant-print cameras, sold over five million Polaroids last year, a 30 per cent increase from 2014.

“The technology itself is fun to hold in your hands [both the camera and the prints] so I think it will likely continue to prove of interest to generations to come,” said Clarke, mentioning that Polaroids also came back into style when she was in high school.

Polaroid cameras may prove to be a passing trend, but for now, like the moments they capture, they’re a lot of fun.


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