Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture…

Words to a song that will, one day, have to be explained to a younger generation:

“What does it mean Grandma?”

“Well, back when I was a kid, one could take a picture using what was called a Polaroid.  The instant photo would spit out of the camera and while developing before your very eyes you would have to shake it back and forth to allow it to air dry.”

“What megapixel was the camera Grandma?”


I have an odd way of reading through CNN stories.  I pull up, I look at the headliner and then I look to the list on the right to see if any stories jump out at me.  The lover o’ the gore in me usually reads the macabre stories.  During the political season I like the blogs.  But on most days, I like the human interest stories and the oddities.  Those are the ones that usually take you away from the war and plight of an ill-led nation.  Today I found myself reading about the demise of the instant photo.

In CNN’s article, “Fans bid farewell to Polaroid film.” I found out that Polaroid has decided to halt production of instant film.  I am sure you would recognize a photo made with instant film by the very little white border that encircles the photo.  Anyone who grew up from the 50’s through the 80’s could point one out without hesitation.  As I write this, I am thinking of those very types of pictures that are included in my own albums.  There is one photo in particular that is of me and Alex on my very first Mother’s Day.  Sigh.

Within the article there was a sub-story (not sure if that is a technical term, but it is what I call the story within the story – the human effect of whatever the topic involves) – about Tacey Willis, a twenty-something woman from Sandusky, Ohio.  She created a coffee table book entitled, “Day By Day Polaroid”.  For the book, Willis took a picture each day (using the instant film) for an entire year.   Along with each photo, she included a Movie of the Day, a Song of the Day and a Quote of the day.  She did this from 2007 through 2008.  In searching on, it appears the book has not been released as yet.  Within the CNN article, it is noted that she is waiting for a publisher.  I would be interested to find how quickly she is snapped up with the publicity she will surely receive from this article.

It got me to thinking – how fun would that be (and sometimes a pain in the ass) to come up with a picture each and every day?  You would have to carry a camera with you at all times, waiting for that one particular moment, when you felt that THIS is the shot I want for today…  This sounds like something that could be fun and you could pass along to your kids or grandkids.  I think I want to do this.  Tapping fingers on keys…pause…yes, I think so.  But I would have to start IN 2009 (not like a 01/01/09 date) because I have so much going on right now.  Oh, this could be fun…  Of course I will use my digital.

For those of you who love Polaroid and think that life will end without it – you are not alone.  There are websites with petitions like Save Polaroid Film and  There are also a number of blogs, one title I found particularly interesting: Polaroid Killed By The 21st Century. Although the blog is not a particularly mind boggling read, the headliner says it all.  We are technology driven beings that sometimes steamroll nostalgia to get to the next best thing.

So, with a sad heart I bid farewell to the instant photo.  No longer will we have to blow on film and shake it back and forth.  No longer will we hold it upside down for unknown reasons while it develops.  No longer will we have the mystery of whether or not it turned out or whether it actually looks like the subject being photographed.

One more childhood memory, gone poof.

2 replies »

  1. I had a Kodak instant camera growing up called “The Handle” or “The Crank” or something like that. I remember thinking I was quite the photographer back then, but all the pictures seemed to be of my dog.

    Question – do we have to take a new picture for each day or can it be occasionally pulled from our personal archives?

    Ahhhh…here it is

    I remember it had a crank instead of the motor that made the characteristic “WHIRRRRRRRR” of the Polaroid land camera.

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