Sunday, 9 May 2010


I have been surrounded by polaroid pictures for many years, having sold both cameras and film since the early 80's. The 'Polaroid look', three narrow edges and a broad bottom as a frame around a square picture has become an icon of the times, instantly (pun intended) recognisable to everyone. It is only recently however that I have started to really take notice of this in advertising. In just a few weeks and without any effort I have seen a poster on the back of a bus advertising a recruitment agency, this leaflet from the Blood Donor Service and a bit of marketing on the back of the food we buy for my cat (of whom we will see more later).

I confess to having made my own 'fauxlaroids', images cropped into a frame in Photoshop, mine were required for the layout of my website which needed to have a polaroid angle to it.

It is clear that there is an enduring affection for this layout, it cleverly gives the designer added freedom to tilt images, to put captions on the white border, to stack them on the page, even to graphically 'paperclip' or 'staple' them to the page, overlaying all the other design elements.

It certainly makes for an eye-catching spread. I'm not entirely happy though, this is graphic design and it really shouldn't be confused with photography, I certainly didn't intend that when I designed my homepage, that was design.

Try Googling 'polaroid frames' however and you will see that the idea of putting digital images into polaroid frames returns 235,000 images. These range from simple SX70 style frames (with or without coffee stains) to the most elaborate and in my view hideous montages.

My two favorites (I am joking) are one that is made up of about 15 polaroid frames scattered over a page with a black background, each frame has a transparent square where the picture would be and you overlay this over a single image! It just looks silly!!! From the same source

'Vintage Effect' stacked SX70 shaped frames with deckle edges (the rough edges you get from handmade paper) and sepia toned pictures.

Those of you who have been reading my blog will know that I am no great fan of this sort of 'creativity' involving Photoshop. Photoshop is a fabulous programme in the hands of a commercial retoucher but for a photographer it is for sorting out colour, sharpening cropping and exposure, the fact that it can do all those other things does not mean you have to!!!

Anyway, back to 'Fauxlaroids' - but now a completely different interpretation of the word. I am finally selling Impossible Project's new PX100 and PX600 films from my website: These seem to be universally referred to as the "new polaroid films" but they are so much more. PX100 fits in SX70 cameras and PX600 fits into Type 600 cameras. They are both black and white and require a little care in use but the results are really interesting, I have only taken a few pictures so far but I am liking what I see, this one is my son's cat.

I'm not sure that 'fauxlaroid' is right for these though, in the past they were Polaroids - made by Polaroid so should they now be Impossiblaroids...

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