One of our regular blog readers, and frequent commenter, Ken, emailed me last night. He was blubbering over a movie he had seen called "Time Zero". It's about those old Polaroid cameras that shot you out a photo one minute after clicking the 'go button'. Well, Polaroid long ago gave up making the things.....and they quit making film for it sometime in 2008. But, as we all know, there will always be a group of product aficionados who just love that old camera, and this Polaroid is no exception. They loved the way they could make the photos more artistic by the way they processed the photo after it emerged from the camera shell. And, just as we still have LP devotees, and, in the age of the digital book, physical book devotees, these Polaroid folks are pretty rabid about their cameras!
However, I don't believe I've ever seen a group of "loyalists" go as far as these Polaroid fans have. They went out and actually bought one of Polaroid's old factories and began playing with the manufacturing process, not only to begin manufacturing the film, but to make both the film and the camera easier to use.
Well, the film "Time Zero" (which I have yet to see, but have watched the trailer) depicts these folks interacting with the old Polaroid engineers, staging a "love-in" of sorts with each other. The film starts out with a rather charming young Black man (a young Tiger Woods type) who is speaking of the wonders of the Polaroid SX-70. He says "it's magic, I don't know how they get those little people inside that camera, or how they feed them, but what comes out is pure magic".
Now our old friend Ken knows that I'm a blubberer too. He no doubt read my earlier blog, a tribute to Kodak; an appreciation for all the memories Kodak helped to create through the magic of their camera and film technology. So good ole Ken knew he could no doubt start me to blubbering too by forwarding information about this little gem of a film. And he's right. The first image that came to my mind was an old pic of me with my family on the day I left for Vietnam. No one seemed to have a camera that day to capture a memory of an early Christmas dinner party my mom gave to me on 20 December 1968. Fortunately, I had stowed away one of the early versions of those old Polaroid instants and it was brought out to take a picture of the family around the table.
So, as soon as I read Ken's email I pulled out that old badly processed photo and took a fond look at it. It shows us all standing around the table, no one very happy to see me leave for Vietnam. But, even in its basic simplicity, it captures the love my family had for me on a particularly difficult day.
It's as Ken said; for most of us it's not about camera technology....it's about the nostalgia we had about things that were precious and rare. Today's cameras and even our cell phones can take better pictures. They can chug out pic after pic of the most mundane things. And somehow, because they are so readily made, and so readily available, they just aren't as special as those old photos that captured a moment in time that can never be again.
So, thank you, Ken. Sometime in the next few weeks I'll download the "Time Zero" film from I-Tunes or Amazon and have a look. But I've blubbered enough this morning and need to be dry-eyed to finish this blog.