So, yesterday I got an iphone. Succumbing to the masses and whatnot. It seemed almost inevitable. Almost instantly I downloaded several apps for the camera, including Instagr.am.
Ugh. I love it. I've always hated apps which promise to give a "vintage" feel to your photos. Maintaining that if you want a vintage photo, buy an older camera and film. Commit. Stop faking. But this way is so much easier.
Recently I've tried to buy polaroid film and just flat out could not afford to do so. I used to be able to buy fairly cheap film on ebay, but the price has gone up significantly over the past few years. Now it seems to work out at around £3 per exposure. I should have realised this would happen given the closure of polaroid's instant film plants in 2008.
We have to be thankful for The Impossible Project of course, for saving the last instant film plant and making new film available.
Impossible prevents more than 300,000,000 perfectly functioning Polaroid cameras from becoming obsolete, changes the world of photography and keeps variety, tangibility and analogue creativity and possibilities alive.
However, I still find their film to be more expensive than I was once used to. I will occasionally be able to purchase the film, it makes shooting with it a much more precious process knowing that there are very limited chances to get a good shot.
Lisa Wiseman, a San Francisco based commercial photographer used to working with polaroid film, shot a project titled "The New Polaroid" solely using her iphone camera.
This project is shot completely with my iPhone and is an exploration of iPhone as the new Polaroid. As the iPhone is becoming a ubiquitous and trendy accessory, on-the-go picture taking is now the norm. I see people using their iPhones to take spontaneous photos in the same carefree way that cheap Polaroid has been used in the past. In concept and ideology, the iPhone mimics Polaroid; however, it pushes the aesthetic forward by utilizing a new non-film (but technologically infantile) medium. Just like traditional Polaroids had a specific size and unique look, iPhone photos are unmistakable because the technology limits them to a fixed size and resolution and imbues them with a unique chromatic aberration that says “iPhone” and nothing else.
I do not consider iphone to be a substitute for instant film. The one aspect of instant photography that makes it so appealing is the physical aspect. Watching the image appear before your eyes and then having the physical object as a reminder of that moment forever. Ugh, I hate the way this sounds. I just want to get across the importance of the physical. Being able to hold a photograph that you have just taken. Digital photography does not exist. It isn't a real thing. Its just a series of codes within a machine.
Then again, how do we share photographs nowadays? Generally there is no physical contact between people. I would assume most photographs are viewed alone, online. On Facebook, or something similar. (of course, I cannot speak for everyone, worldwide. But this is the norm for my friends and family.) In that case, in order to share instant film photographs with the same amount of people you would share digital photographs with you have to scan the images into the computer and upload them in the normal way.
Now the physical images have become but a series of codes. Does it even matter that the existed in the first place?