Blast from the Past
Instant cameras are back and better than ever with high-tech upgrades to the same fun format.
By Ashley Burnett
When it comes to technology, everyone wants the latest and greatest: the newest smartphone, the largest television and computers with the highest specs. But in that shuffle to the next big technological advancement are those who are returning to slightly simpler times—at least in regard to photography.
Instant cameras are back, and this time they’re bringing wireless capabilities and other modern features to the forefront.
“There’s something truly magical about a tangible photograph, and even more so one that develops before your eyes,” says Katherine Phipps, marketing and public relations manager for instant camera company Lomography USA. “… The photos themselves are beautiful representations of their subjects, especially in the wide format film, so they become very precious because oftentimes they’re one of a kind. They become a collection of moments, of memories.”
That magic has inspired companies like Fujifilm, the Impossible Project and Lomography to create new instant cameras (as well as refurbish older models)—and consumers are willing to help them do it. Lomography’s Lomo’Instant was financed through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The campaign initially sought $100,000, but concluded with more than $1 million from nearly 8,500 backers. The camera, which won a Lucie Technical Award for Best Instant Camera, is available in both narrower and wider formats and with different design patterns inspired by locales around the world. It also features the largest aperture setting of any instant camera.
“People are excited and surprised when they first see that this kind of thing still exists, as a lot of people seem to be under the impression that film isn’t around anymore, but then they also get excited by how fun and easy it is to use the camera,” Phipps says. “It becomes kind of addicting to use, but in this really special way that you’re constantly considering what [is] out in the world [that] will make the worthwhile picture.”
The Impossible Project, meanwhile, has released the I-1, the first camera produced by the company, which was started in 2008 by Florian Kaps in response to Polaroid deciding to shut down production of its instant cameras.
“We think that consumers are drawn to the cameras as it is a return to tangibility and physicality—you can hold the picture,” says Alex Holbrook, communications and partnership manager for the Impossible Project, who uses a refurbished Polaroid 600 for travel photography. “There is also the wonderful mechanics to the cameras—a click and whirr as you take a photo. This is the thing that makes them timeless.”
But the I-1 also takes advantage of modern technology. For example, a Bluetooth-connected app allows for remote triggers and the ability to add fun effects, like superimposing two images on top of each other. The Impossible Project is looking to incorporate even more advanced features in their future products, as well as spread the word about instant cameras as they continue to refurbish old models like the Polaroid 600 and SX-70. Lomography is also considering the release of new models—although the company is tight-lipped about the possibility for now.
Fujifilm, a Japanese company, is also helping to lead the instant camera resurgence. Its Instax Mini 8 is a favorite of bloggers and Instagrammers thanks to its fun design and creative, patterned rolls of film sporting polka dots, rainbows and stars. The company even has an app that will allow you to print shots taken on your iPhone in an instant film format, blending nostalgia with social media.
But whatever features the instant cameras of tomorrow boast, one thing is clear—the devoted following of both budding and nostalgic photographers are sure to keep the traditional photo format from being lost. “…[While] we do not expect every household in the world to own an instant camera, we are working on raising awareness of the format and offering people the opportunity to have an alternative to digital,” Holbrook says. “We want to keep making products that people enjoy and give them the opportunity to make their experience their own.” And with cameras like these, all that takes is a click and a whirr.
Salamander Hotels & Resorts shares photographic inspiration on Instagram.
Salamander Hotels & Resorts’ Instagram accounts post beautiful shots taken around the properties, alert followers to special deals and events and provide a behind-the-scenes look at these world-famous resorts. In addition to following your favorite properties for inspiration, share your favorite Salamander moments by adding these property-specific hashtags to your posts:
@salamanderhotels: #SalamanderExperience, #SalamanderSelfie
@salamanderresort: #SalamanderExperience, #SalamanderSpa
@InnisbrookResort: #InnisbrookResort, #SalamanderExperience, #SnakePitSelfie, #ValsparChampionship
@ReunionResort: #ReunionResort, #SalamanderExperience, #LifeatReunion
@HammockBeach: #HammockBeach, #SalamanderExperience, #LifeatHammockBeach
@HendersonFL: #TheHenderson, #SalamanderExperience
Show off for the Pup-arazzi at Salamander Resort & Spa.
Canine companions are often the center of attention around town, and the same is true for when they visit Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. The resort staff roll out the turf carpet and use an instant camera to capture shots of their VIP (Very Important Pooch) guests. Stop by the front desk any time during your stay for a strut down the “dog walk” in front of the pet step and repeat for a photo opp, and receive a prompt keepsake of your pup star.