In an Instagram world when a quickie effect can turn a contemporary image vintage with a fingertap, I’m often nostalgic for the awe a Polaroid portrait could summon—as this SX-70 print did for three friends on a hot summer day in a Western town in the 1980s. A moment I recorded in one split-second shows their utter delight at seeing their own story come slowly to life, soft colors emerging into richer ones, details revealing themselves as arched eyebrows, smudged freckles, a chipped tooth, while the Polaroid develops.
I’m nostalgic now for the kind of respect a Polaroid commanded. You didn’t have to wait long, but you did have to wait just a bit, to see the image emerge right before your eyes. Polaroid took what was previously a mystery contained inside a camera and gave it to us in a novel process that practically invented the demand for immediacy.
Decades later, this is still one of my all-time favorite photographs, made with my pre-digital era Pentax SLR on Kodachrome 64, when the most instant photo-gratification you could get came out of a Polaroid camera. ♣
Order a print of this image: Email Jann Alexander
How has your photography developed over the years?
- The Impossible Project brings Polaroid film back to life (the-impossible-project.com)
- Polaroid’s Polamatic app brings its unique brand of nostalgia to Android (engadget.com)
- ‘The Polaroid Years’ Showcases Freedom for the Photography World with the Click of a Button (resourcemagonline.com)
- Daily Prompt: Friends (dailypost.wordpress.com)