Last week while spring-cleaning at home we discussed the demise of Polaroid film, set to be discontinued by year’s end, but we made the decision to hang onto our nifty little Polaroid instant camera — “hey, you never know what will happen with this technology so let’s not toss it just yet” — while we contemplated whether to snarf up some Polaroid film while we can. It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine stockpiles boxes of Sponges and then has to decide whether subsequent dates are “Sponge-worthy.” (If you need an explanation for that … never mind, you’re too young.)
Then we saw a piece in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine that officially reminded us how, for instant-camera film, time is short.
The piece is in the Consumed column by Rob Walker, a personal friend (I hired Rob eons ago as a reporter for a Texas newspaper and I’ve steadily watched his writing career ascend ever since). Each week the column is all about trends in marketing and consumption, sometimes not in that order, and Rob rightly points out that Edward Land’s invention of Polaroid instant pictures led to its modern digital ancestors — which rendered it obsolete.