The swelling surge of nostalgia cannot and will not be stopped as Polaroid Labs promises to bring back the charm of photographs with this latest innovation.
The fact of the matter is: There isn’t a more photograph-obsessed generation than that of the Millennials. Without the need to be told twice, we will snap everything in plain sight: food, fashion, foliage, and even feet. (Yes, I was going for an alliteration, but really, we do take shots of the whole lot.) While we hold no ownership of the interest with imagery, which holds a very vivid story from the dusty black and whites that were fired up from behind draped curtain to the saturated ones that filled up our childhood albums, the rabid fascination is simply unparalleled.
However, even in the hyper speed of the digital age, which feeds off very, very, very instant gratification, there exists a gaping void punctured by nostalgia. Photographs will endure, yes, but the sentimentality of actually holding one in tangible permanence has conceded to time and technology. Taking photos have become so second-nature, with thumbs firing up a round of multiples in just a single breath that the charm has been invariably lost.
Linking the analog to the digital, Polaroid has developed a system that takes us back to the darkroom—figuratively, of course. Pushing pixels beyond the phone screens, Polaroid Originals Philippines is releasing the Polaroid Lab, an innovation that promises to turn memories into milestones as real Polaroid pictures. Functioning as a miniature table top printer, employing the unique Polaroid photo chemistry, your best shots can be turned into classic film stills.
“Unlimited cloud storage can actually be your memories’ worst enemy, causing your digital photos to skyrocket in numbers and end up falling into a void of oblivion,” says Oskar Smolokowski, CEO of Polaroid B.V. “The idea behind the Polaroid Lab is that it turns your most precious smartphone photos into tangible Polaroid photographs – bringing them into the world as something you can hold in your hand and store on the fridge door rather than in the cloud.” While photo printers are nothing new in the market, with every brand jumping in on it due to the advent of this swelling surge of retro-reminiscing, the Polaroid Lab doesn’t simply just print out your photo. Instead, it creates authentic analog exposures using light and lens, as well as a genuine photochemical process that exacts a result that has is charming, a bit flawed, but totally unique. It isn’t just a press the button type of experience, but an immersive process that lets you live out the days when procuring a photograph really entailed anticipation and bated breath.
Working with its companion app (Polaroid Originals), the Polaroid Lab is far from being complicated. Very user friendly (and iPhone, Samsung, Huawei, Google Pixel, and One Plus compatible), the mini printing tower works when after selecting an image, you place your phone facing downwards on the platform, where upon setting the system go with the push of the red button, the photo is projected onto the film and then, using a combination of mirrors, light and the unique chemistry, it is rendered in an instant photo that pops up and develops right before your very eyes. Shake it a bit and see what happens, yes, like a Polaroid.
We never really stopped taking photographs. What stalled was actually making them into recollections to hold on to. Sure, it is infinitely more convenient to scroll through your phone gallery when that wave of reminiscing washes over you. But there is only so much you can do to appreciate it beyond a double tap, right? Blending the past and present together, the Polaroid Lab is a fragmented realization of our true future. Besides, it isn’t just a photograph to prop on a frame or fashion as a bookmark, but rather, it is a memory turned reality; an instant made permanent never to be lost again.