Saving the Colors of Polaroid Instant Film

If you haven’t heard, Polaroid film is dying.

On February 8th, 2008, the Polaroid corporation announced that the incredible invention of Edwin Land has a permanent expiration date that no refrigeration can postponed; stating, “Polaroid has made the difficult decision to cease manufacturing of instant film products in 2008. We hope that you will continue to choose Polaroid products, as we take instant imaging into the digital platform with exciting new products being launched this year.” The last of the film is projected to expire in September of 2009.

It seems that there is still yet one hope remaining for Polaroid film. Save Polaroid has setup shop to assemble artists and fanatics to save Polaroid.

About Save Polaroid

On February 8, 2008, Polaroid Corporation announced that it will discontinue production of all instant film. This site will document the aftermath of this announcement and will serve as a home-base for the effort to convince another company to begin producing the cherished technology that Polaroid has so carelessly abandoned.

This site is not about saving Polaroid, the company, rather the remarkable invention of Edwin Land, the instant film that made Polaroid a household name.

Photos by Grant Hamilton

What We’ve Done So Far

Since this announcement, we’ve been assembling articles, links, stories and planning out the best way to create a joint effort to save instant film. We’ve contacted Polaroid, Fuji and Ilford about licensing.
Save Polaroid

Rod Hunting Helps Save Polaroid

My good friend, and fellow member of the Chicago artist family The Post Family, artist Rod Hunting was asked by Save Polaroid to produce a limited run of his Polaroid print to be auctioned off on ebay to raise money for Save Polaroid. I sat down with Rod over some fine malt liquor to discus his ‘Polareds’ project, the end of Polaroid and speeding tickets.

Photo from The Post Family

CL: How long have you been taking photos for the Polareds project?

RH: I’ve been taking red Polaroids for about two years now.

CL: How many do you have?

RH: Almost 500.

Photo from The Post Family

CL: What was the inspiration behind the project?

RH: I just thought it’d be cool to take 100 red Polaroids. Once I hit 100, I thought 200 would be good, then 300 and it’s just gone on from there. I don’t think it’ll stop. Unless I can’t get the film anymore. The project also became a way for me to explore the new neighborhood I had just moved into.

Photo from The Post Family

CL: Were all the photos taken in Chicago?

RH: No, wherever I go, I take my camera. I don’t really travel too much, so I think there’s some Wisconsin ones, some Michigan ones, maybe Ohio. A couple from California.

Photos by the Post Family

CL: What are you doing for Save Polaroid?

RH: There’s going to be a very small limited edition Polaroid print up for auction on ebay soon. All the proceeds go to help them do just that, save Polaroid. I’m also working on an Edwin Land print that should be available through their site too.

CL: Do you think red cars really get pulled over by the police more often than other colored cars?

RH: No, I’ve heard that before, but I think it’s all made up.

Polaroid print by Rod Hunting

A little About Rod Hunting

Rod Hunting likes old cameras, riding skateboards, eating calzones, King Cobra Malt Liquor, red Polaroids, fixed gear bikes, listening to the same song over and over again, back flips into pools, Tetris, snow peas, the sound of a manual car backing up and the smell of fresh cut wood. Oh and long lists.
– Bio From The Post Family

The Color Polaroids of Grant Hamilton

One artist who uses Polaroids that might catch the COLORlovers eye is Grant Hamilton. His incredible compositions of colors have been a favorite of mine for a while, and it never seizes to amaze me the range of inspirations and emotions that can be evoked simply by a single solid color.

Josh Spear beat me to an interview, but it is okay, his blog is nice too. Below are some questions from Josh’s Speartalks: Grant Hamilton.

Photos by Grant Hamilton

Josh Spear: Your pictures are – and this could just be a personal feeling – incredibly cooling. Do you consciously work within those colors and exposures to produce that effect?

Grant Hamilton: I don’t know. Many of them use warm colors. One question I frequently get is about the intensity of the colors. I’m often asked if I do that in Photoshop. I wish I had some secret technique, but all I do is make sure that there is plenty of sunlight, just like the package insert says. I think they are calming because I try to edit out everything unnecessary. I think good photographers are mostly just good editors.

Photos by Grant Hamilton

JS: It’s a chilly day in early 2009; you reach into your tattered man-purse, pull out your Polaroid SX-70, and suddenly realize that the next picture you snap with that camera will be the last one you can ever take. What do you take the picture of?

GH: First of all, it is a masculine European handbag. Secondly, the last picture of my second to last pack (see answer above) will be a self-portrait of me wearing sad clown makeup holding an injured dove. And it’s raining.
Speartalks: Grant Hamilton

Photos by Grant Hamilton

About Edwin Land’s Polaroid film

The film pack contains the chemicals needed for developing, and the instant camera automatically initiates the developing process after a photograph has been taken. In most types of Polaroid instant cameras, the film is pulled out through rollers which break open a pod containing the chemicals. The chemicals spread out over the surface of the film, and the positive image appears a few seconds to minutes later. The chemicals have time delays built into them so that each layer of the film can be processed in the correct order.

Photos by Grant Hamilton

Instant film is also used by artists to achieve effects that would be more difficult to accomplish with traditional photography, by manipulating the emulsion during the developing process, or separating the image emulsion from the film base.
wikipedia: Polaroid Film

More Polaroids from Grant Hamilton

Photos by Grant Hamilton

Photos by Grant Hamilton

Photos by Grant Hamilton

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.