One day in 2012 I read a random blog post about a Dutch company called The Impossible Project creating new film for Polaroid instant cameras, because Polaroid themselves had discontinued their official film. I thought it was a pretty neat article, but otherwise went about my day as normal.
The very next day, I went to a flea market and randomly came across a Polaroid Spirit 600 for $5. I bought the camera for fun and put in an order for some new film from that Dutch company. Since then, Polaroids have become my favorite way to take pictures of things.
I like Polaroids because, honestly, I'm not that good of a photographer. But Polaroid photos have such an iconic look to them, even 'bad' Polaroids turn out looking really interesting. The blurs, the washed out colors, the weird tints, even the emulsion and roller errors lead to some really cool stuff. Here are a few of my favorite Polaroid pictures from over the years.
My Polaroid cameras
listed in order of when I got them
- OneStep 600/Spirit 600
My early go-tos. My first Spirit 600 is probably nearest and dearest to my heart.
- OneStep Flash
Largely the same as the OneStep 600s.
I love this camera, but using it makes me anxious! This camera is over 50 years old now and it takes a little bit of effort to expand/fold it shut.
- OneStep Express
When it comes to consumer electronics, I prefer blocky to bubbly. Not of of my favorites, but it's not the camera's fault.
- Land Camera Automatic 100
Got at a thrift store untested. I couldn't even test it if I wanted to, this camera requires a type of battery they don't even make anymore! But it's a neat little piece of history and it sits on my shelf, the elder statesmen of my Polaroids.
- OneStep 2
When Impossible bought Polaroid and became the modern Polaroid we know today, I was actually kind of wary. Especially when they announced a new camera. But I got one anyway and it's become my new go-to camera. Mostly because the film is widely available now, making it very easy to swing by the store, grab some film, and go out there.
The "dumbed down" version of the OneStep 2. Aw, that's being kind of reductive. The autofocus is a nice addition, but I'll be honest I haven't really taken this buddy out on a major outing yet.
- Polaroid Lab
This is kind of a weird one. Basically it's a "camera" you set your phone on and it takes pictures of whatever's on the screen. Good for turning digital photos into Polaroids. I don't use this a lot because relying on it kind of goes against the spirit of Polaroid/analog photography for me. But that being said, there are some times where I find myself in the perfect spot for a cool Polaroid, and me without my camera. Or sometimes I run out of film at the worst moment. I'm glad I have the Lab for moments like this, even if it's "cheating".
- Polaroid One600
I found one of these at a Half Price Books in early 2023 and got it on a whim. The instruction manual it came with says it's from 2004, making it one of the last models of Polaroid instant cameras until The Impossible Project/Polaroid BV. It's a nice little guy, but like I've stated I prefer the blocky older style to this Y2K-era sleekness. The motor is way louder than I expected, but I don't know if that's just a thing with all One600s or this particular camera.
- Polaroid Spectra
I went to an estate sale on a whim in early November 2023, took about five steps in, and saw a Spectra on sale, complete with case and cool extra lenses, for $7. Of course I got it. It's in astoundingly good quality, but I haven't been able to test it yet. Impossible/Polaroid BV discontinued the Spectra film in 2019, and the remaining packs on eBay are kind of expensive... not to mention expired. I'm sure curiosity will probably win out and I'll eventually take the plunge and see if I can make something cool.