Polaroid failure


  • Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.” ― Ziad K. Abdelnour

World Photography Day today. A picture says thousand words. A photography has plenty to say about embracing failure.

An extreme example of this striving for aesthetic ethos is the Lomography Society…

  • “The organization specializes in cheap plastic cameras produced in Russia and China — toys, really, many of which have light leaks and other flaws. Yet they’re selling at high markups in striking numbers, embraced by those hipsters who are warming to analog film. They’re fun to use, and their irregular performance adds a bit of chance to the results — which, for a certain kind of person, one who’s deliberately rejecting the clean digital image, is almost the point of shooting film.”

Our daughter has long been an avid devotee of Polaroid snaps. Photographically inferior in every way to a normal photograph – fidelity, saturation, durability, reproducibility, expense. But all of these small failures produce a gritty, raw feel to the moment they are capturing.

As it happens, the Polaroid organization didn’t quite embrace failure as much as its devotees did which provides a cautionary tale “What Kodak could still learn from Polaroid”…

  • “In the 1960s and ’70s, Polaroid was one of the most inventive technology companies on Earth. By the 1990s, it had changed from idea factory to consumer-products manufacturer, and one that was dependent on a single product line whose technology was aging ungracefully. Polaroid declared bankruptcy in 2001 and again in 2008; it stopped film production in 2009. A look at the deep swan dive taken by Polaroid’s analog film business, and at the tiny companies that have bobbed along picking up bits of its business after the collapse, provides useful guidance to whoever buys Kodak’s film division — and some cautionary tales, as well.”

May embracing failure be a snap for you today. Here’s some inspirations for you from Michael Raso’s collection of Polaroid “failures” titled “Sometimes, Failure can be Beautiful”.