Polaroid instant photography has finally joined eight-track tapes, vinyl records, and rabbit ear antennae in the scrap-heap of technological wonders that we simply don't need anymore (soon to be joined by the fax machine). Sure, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time now. Digital cameras have been with us for years, and have become ubiquitous as they've gotten cheaper. Most mobile phones come equipped with them. I even got a music player for Christmas that came equipped with a camera at least as powerful as a Polaroid.
But for people in my generation (and the baby boomers before me), Polaroid cameras will always hold a nostalgic place in our hearts. When I was a kid, you either took your film to the drug store and waited several days for the prints, or you used a Polaroid, and got them instantly. Originally, you had to snap the picture, rip the picture out of the camera, apply a chemical to the print, and then wave it around to dry it. They were messy, and very thick and inflexible pictures, but they were instant.
The SX-70, and later the "One Step" changed the messiness factor, by enclosing all the chemicals within the print. For some reason, people still waved them around anyway. Here's a vintage commercial, starring Mariette Hartley and James Garner (who many believed were married), showing the wonders of a Polaroid camera. . .
More Polaroid eulogizing, and more commercials here:
A Heartfelt, YouTube-Based Wake for Polaroid Instant Photography