Laurelle Armet


Shake It Like A Polaroid

These days it seems every time I wake up there's something new for everyone to ah and oh over. Whether it be the kid who went full diva on a TV news report, some celebrity gossip totally unrelated to ourselves or anyone we actually know in real life yet is the centre of the internet for days, or just a new photo editing app that's trending on Instagram. But like anything new and exciting, after the smoke clears, we all seem to settle down and forget about it. Until it trends again.

That brings me to polaroid cameras. I'm sure some of us (or at least our parents) grew up with a polaroid camera. We spontaneously snapped photo after photo waiting in anticipation as it printed and developed, being careful not to smudge the ink as our images appeared. Half of them turned out, perfectly capturing thousands of memories and candid moments. While the other half were unfocused, overexposed and totally not worth keeping, yet we still find these rejects tucked in between old photos in discarded boxes stored under our staircases. Or is that just me?

Somewhere along the way, digital cameras became the norm and polaroids became long forgotten. Until now. But why? Some might ask. Why would anyone want to trade in their expensive and convenient digital camera for a polaroid camera?

Well, if you're a photographer like myself, I think you will agree that digital cameras are the norm and aren't going anywhere. In this fast paced world with consumers wanting results now, it would be silly to completely revert back to something so slow and old fashioned as a polaroid camera (unless, for instance, that is the crowd you cater to of course). Digital cameras are capable of so much more and leave little room for mistakes, if you know what you're doing. But there's something a polaroid camera has, I think, that a digital cameras lacks and that is nostalgia.

While polaroids have been making a silent comeback they brought back with them the use of film and the fact that all your memories don't have to be digital copies stored in a cloud somewhere in California (yes I'm talking about you Apple Cloud). There's a certain dangerous thrill to snapping a photo and waiting to see the results. Was the lighting right? Was it in focus? All these questions as you wait for your photo to develop, talk about #yolo. It's almost addicting when the photo comes out just as you had hoped, it makes you want to snap another photo, capture another moment, freeze another memory.

That's why I had to add a Polaroid camera to my roster. As a photographer I've never experienced that anxious awaiting. It inspired me to think more creatively about my subjects and compositions. It was easy to sometimes get lazy with a digital camera and tell myself I'd edit it later. But each click of the shutter on my polaroid camera has to mean something. I now crave that nostalgic desire to have something captured in its unedited glory, forever to remain the same, tucked in between old photos in discarded boxes stored under our staircase.

Or is that just me?