Monday, December 29, 2008

Polaroid dreams

Fake polaroid 2
"Fake polaroid 2," Tim Connor All rights reserved

I read Michael Kimmelman's homage to polaroids, "Imperfect, Yet Magical," in yesterday's Times & got nostalgic. As you've no doubt heard, Polaroid, the corporation, announced this year that it will no longer make polaroid, the film, touching off a tsunami of rapturous elegies & a worldwide hoarding orgy. Yes, I admit that reading the piece I too got a little weepy -- then I realized I had never owned a polaroid. I did once borrow a friend's SX-70 for about a week years ago to attempt a little erotica. Later I walked around & took pictures of things like mailboxes & hamburgers & bicycles in the bushes.

Fake nostalgia then.

As Kimmelman points out, most people use polaroids to take pictures of loved ones. Or to record the objects that symbolize life's milestones -- a Christmas tree, a birthday cake, a shiny new car . To use Kimmelman's lovely phrase, polaroids are "...memories coming into focus on a small rectangle of film."

I am, however, nostalgic for the pictures snapped (I mean click-whirred) from the point of view of a curious alien from a distant nebula. These pictures are not art; nor are they visual notes -- the alien is not an anthropologist. No, let's say the alien is a tourist in a big hurry, stuck here between quantum jumps. He has no idea what he's photographing. He just thinks he might want to look at it later

I take a fair number of pictures like that (see above), though I still don't own a polaroid.

Oh well, "Memento mori" anyhow.

No comments: