Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Cache of Excess

I have to admit, I feel a little bit like those archaeologists in the news, fumbling into a cavern that may be legend.

Two pillars of the film world died this year; hoarders of Polaroid film and Kodachrome are looking at these once ubiquitous consumer products to reinflate their sagging IRAs. And although there are some people working hard to solve the impossible, it's not solved yet. I figured I'd held my last Polaroid picture forever.

Not so, says Fate.

The Cache

I couldn't pass it up. Not with the film included. I tried to put it down, I honestly did, but I couldn't.

I'm not even sure I remember how to load this silly stuff, but I know that the Internet will come to my aid there. I figure I've got 90 or so pictures left in these packs, less if the embedded battery is shot. Now I have to decide: what to shoot?

The age of the film and the general instability of the emulsion means I won't be capturing any great art here, but then the Polaroid was never meant for Great Art. It was always about orangish-blurry pictures of Aunt Marge at the cookout, balancing a Chinet full of barbeque on her lap, waving one heavily costume-jeweled hand at you and holding a buttery corncob in the other. As you can see from the pic, my first attempt (the "Is there still film in this?" shot) is of my office plant on the windowsill. It's delightful and washed out and perfect.

So what say all of you? I am sorely tempted to follow the outstanding examples of a fellow typecaster and shoot countless pictures of the many machines in my life. A retro-memorial for retro-tech. But I don't know. I'm great at hoarding, not so great at using with reckless abandon.

What would you shoot?


Mike Speegle said...

Where find it did you?

mpclemens said...

At local thrift store it was, a mere Lincoln it cost.

This is the same store that has bestowed me with, well, let's just say far too many other goodies, including my Lettera. It is a kind, friendly place. I may have to write a NaNo about an exceedingly beneficent thrift store, in fact.

Mike Speegle said...

Curse you and your geographical advantages, Clemens.

Monda said...

I don't know, MP. Nothing says Polariod like fuzzy Christmas morning pictures.

Think about it - you've got Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Santa day. The Polariod Trifecta.

James Watterson said...

I love Poloroid. My uncle worked for them all his life. I can remember the free film he always would give out.

mpclemens said...

@Monda: it's true, we're about to score the great kiddie trifecta.

@James: lucky you! Of course, it's that kind of thing when you realize your luck long after the fact.


It's becoming clear to me that I should use the bulk of this on photos of people (my kids and otherwise.) A tree can't appreciate the anticipation of waiting for that magic little window to resolve into a photo.

deek said...

I did enjoy reading everything I could about the "Impossible Mission".

I had no idea that was going on and I really hope they pull it off.

Strikethru said...

Holy moley, was that a good score. How can you even imply you'd have hesitated?

mpclemens said...

You've seen my psyche at work. This is what I have to put up with.

And for the record, there is a reason why expiration dates are printed on film. The pack from the mid-90s is nasty -- the chemicals are rather sluggish, so the film develops in uneven, orangy splotches.

It's wonderful. I'm in heaven.

Duffy Moon said...

No, don't do that. I'm pretty sure I took my own typewriter-portrait polaroids back in the day when it wasn't so clear Polaroid was done for. I'd save those puppies if I were you. Or, as you've said, use them on people. Your machines (God willing and the river don't rise) will be there to represent themselves in the long term. Kids not so much.

Jessica said...

Looking at that photo of the box filled with film makes me weak at the knees. You are more lucky than you can imagine.

Sacramento's been cleaned out. :(