A snap decision

By Damon Griffin

You’ll never have to shake your Polaroid picture again – not that you had to in the first place.

On the heels of the company’s decision to halt production of its iconic instant film, Vice President Jon Pollock announced last week that Polaroid’s latest invention, a high-tech alternative called the PoGo Instant Digital Camera, will grace store shelves by this March.

‘With this product, Polaroid will bring the magic of instant photography to a whole new generation,’ Pollock said in a statement Jan. 8. Pollock, who is also the general manager of the company’s digital imaging division, added: ‘It’s what consumers have told us they want – a fun, easy way to use a digital camera to print photos and share their memories instantly.’

According to a Northeastern News report published Feb. 12, 2008, the innovative instant film that came to define the Polaroid name is expected to disappear completely by the end of this year. It debuted on the market in 1948.

With the PoGo’s built-in printer, which was unveiled on its own last summer, users can generate 2×3-inch photographs directly from the camera in less than 60 seconds without losing more updated digital features like image previewing. The photographs are also sticky-backed, like the company’s discontinued i-Zone film.

‘This is the digital version of our traditional instant camera, which consumers have loved since the ’70s,’ Pollock said in the statement.

Printing options include setting a white border reminiscent of original 600 series Polaroid film.

‘Unlike traditional instant film, photos from the Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera emerge fully developed,’ Pollock said in the statement. ‘While many of our most passionate customers tell us ‘shaking’ a Polaroid photo is part of the fun, with any Polaroid photo, the ‘shake’ is totally optional.’

The notion that instant digital film will appease a new generation might not pass muster. On Facebook alone, three major groups – one boasting 14,000 members worldwide – have been created since last year to advocate the preservation of Polaroid’s nostalgic instant film.

‘I like the desaturation and lack of control – the knowledge that nothing was edited, zoomed or changed,’ said Clara Rice, a junior photography major who said she has been taking pictures since she was in high school.

Rice said she used various Polaroid cameras throughout her life, but her favorite is the Polaroid 420 Automatic Land Camera, which takes a special sort of pull-apart film, she said. Compared with the long lineage of Polaroid products – starting with the Model 95 in the late ’40s – the PoGo is more novelty than substance.

Moreover, Rice noted the term ‘instant digital camera’ is extraneous – all digital cameras offer some degree of instant gratification.

‘Since the old market isn’t feasible for them, they might as well try this out,’ she said. ‘It won’t make for a very serious mode of photography, and it won’t replace the old cameras. But I think it’s a good idea, and it looks like a lot of fun – like a good social tool.’

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