The tagline for the These Americans website is “American Art, History and Culture Through Pictures” and, while this image of “Bobo the Clown and Boy (1951)” portrays the selflessness and compassion that embodies the American spirit, the website does tend to highlight some of the more colorful aspects of the Home of the Brave. Take, for example, their gruesome collection entitled “American Lynching” that contains photos featuring crowds of smiling white folks (including children) squeezing into frame around bare-chested black men tied, hung by their necks and often burned.
Perhaps I was a bit harsh in that previous post regarding the $18 Polaroid prints. Perhaps not—you were still paying out the wazoo. But perhaps you’d not heard of Polapremium.com where you can (like I have) buy remainder stock of many different types of Polaroid film formats for what still seems like a reasonable price. And if perhaps, like me, you have that instant print itch that can only be scratched by the cha-ching of an SX-70 Land camera spitting out a $2 gamble then your prayers may have just been answered. The Impossible Project was founded “with the concrete aim to re-invent and re-start production of analog Integral Film for vintage Polaroid cameras.” And, in 2010, their limited edition films will launch and, get this, Polaroid will even introduce a new “classic analog camera” designed especially for their film stock. The Impossible Project managed to secure one of the Polaroid production facilities in Enschede, Netherlands and has begun production on pilot stocks of films. And, apparently, they were behind the limited edition Polaroid Camera/Film package I was slamming in my previous post. I guess it was both market research and a ballsy fund-raiser? Whatever it was it clearly inspired Polaroid to rethink having ditched Dr. Edwin Land’s amazing vision and return to the medium that made them an international icon. Hallelujah!
Well, if you were one of the lucky idiots who paid $180 bucks (plus shipping) for the “Special Edition Polaroid One 600 Classic Camera & 779 Premium Film” package that Urban Outfitters was recently peddling then I hope you made every “say cheese” count. With only 10 prints per pack, as has always been the case, the Special Edition package pumped you for at minimum $18 buck a snap–thus quite possibly eliminating the joy and spontaneity that made Polaroid the camera of choice for party-goers and crap-shoot photographers alike. Anyone who has swung by their local thrift store, even if only to drop off that bag of last year’s clothes, has to have noticed the piles of perfectly good Polaroid 600 series cameras growing in the electronics section. I once picked up an SX-70 Land camera (think Warhol) for $3 bucks at a thrift store. Perhaps unbeknownst to their previous owners, film for these cameras does still exist–though mostly remainder stocks on eBay and Amazon.com. You can even find new “crack and peel” type film being made for those vintage bellowed 540/720 series cameras if you search online. A three dollar camera sure puts me back in joy and spontaneity mode.