Wednesday, February 13, 2008


© 2000 Stacy Apikos-Boge for
Estée Lauder's "Surface"

Above Top: Jeremy Kost ''working it'' with Polaroid
Linsday Lohan Polaroid by Jeremy Kost

It was a wonder in its time: A camera that spat out photos that developed themselves in a few minutes as you watched. You got to see them where and when you took them, not a week later when the prints came back from the drugstore.

But in a day when nearly every cellphone has a digital camera in it, “instant” photography long ago stopped being instant enough for most people. So today, the inevitable end of an era came: Polaroid is getting out of the Polaroid business.The company, which stopped making instant cameras for consumers a year ago and for commercial use a year before that, said today that as soon as it had enough instant film manufactured to last it through 2009, it would stop making that, too. Three plants that make large-format instant film will close by the end of the quarter, and two that make consumer film packets will be shut by the end of the year.

Polaroid instant cameras were the invention of Polaroid founder Edward Land. In 1948, the first commercially available model, the Model 95, went on sale at Boston’s Jordan Marsh Department Store for $89.75. Over the years, as new technology emerged, the cost of the cameras went down, but the company, thanks to the digital revolution, experienced a slump that eventually led to its bankruptcy and an acquisition by the Petters Group in 2005.The company, which will concentrate on digital cameras and printers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001 and was acquired by a private investment company in 2005. It started in 1937 making polarized lenses for scientific and military applications, and introduced its first instant camera in 1948.

When I heard the news felt sad for a moment because my whole life at some different stages there has been a Polaroid capturing that moment. Some bad hairdays, some fabulous body shots done in Fire Island (not all the way naked!...well maybe some ha!) when there was time to stay tanned all summer. It almost makes me call home and try to steal all the ones in my family albums...ok not that nostalgic! Maybe I have my brother pick them up for me.

I also thought of three artists among many ones that the use of Polaroids has always been an important element of their work.
These artists are Andy Warhol, Stacy Boge and Jeremy Kost. Andy Warhol was ultimate master of the use of Polariod capturing timeless images of an era that will never will exist again.

Please find below some of their views regarding Polaroid.


Stacy Apikos-Boge says that using the Polaroid 20x24 is a dream come true. "I do photo-documentary, portraiture, and fashion. The advantage and beauty of using Polaroid is its immediacy. I can alter the color and experiment. It allows for accidents—which I believe in, in art. The manipulation comes from exposure time, lens, lighting. There's a real honesty with it."
Apikos-Boge used the 20x24 for a recent Estée Lauder campaign promoting a new men's skin care line called "Surface" (see image above). "I thought because the packaging was so modern that I'd take what was going on in the fashion/music world and show more skin—photographing very close-up portraits of men without their shirts. The 20x24 was the only camera I could use to get an actual reproduction of the models' faces. After the campaign, Estée Lauder put the prints in its art collection. Apikos-Boge also shot for Vera Wang on the 20x24 camera after Wang saw her Lauder images.
"There's this whole experience that goes on between the photographer and the sitter—whoever you're photographing has to remain perfectly still because the lens is an eyelash away. It's truly a collaborative process between the photographer and this incredible piece of machinery.

Jeremy Kost On Polaroid

Jeremy Kost’s adventures began in 2003 when he had a day job marketing antiques. He was living in Washington with his parents. One weekend, while visiting friends in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, his host left for a night job at a local bar. A Polaroid camera was hanging on the wall so Kost decided to borrow it for the evening.

“Since I didn’t really know anyone in New York at the time, the camera served as a sort of social catalyst,” Kost recalled with a grin. He found that he made friends wherever he snapped photos. One night, after taking a picture of the actress Pamela Anderson, the well-known fashion photographer David LaChappelle had a look at Kost’s work and encouraged him to take his nightlife hobby more seriously. That was all Kost needed to make a permanent move to New York.

Kost has not put his borrowed Polaroid down since. His instincts and respect for privacy have helped cultivate warm relationships with a number of celebrities, although he acknowledges he’s been turned down his share of times, too.

Kost has turned what used to be a way for making friends into a venture he calls Roidrage. His pictures have appeared in galleries and fashion magazines. He has also created a Web site, Kost says his approach to celebrity “allows people to look at those moments that are treated like press and say they can be artistic, intimate and special."

I was invited by Jeremy to see his work this weekend including a series of silkscreens. I am sure I will be excited by the work but, I still can get out of my head that wonderful Lindsay Lohan Polaroid facing the papparrazi that I saw on my first studio visit (not the one above). It makes me want to have it.Check out Jeremy Kost work at It has a store in it and you can shop for limited editions of Polaroids sets.
Let me know your thoughts and opinions about the end of Polaroid!


pAbLO said...

I am quite impressed by the article!
well written, great quotes and inside information about great artists.....and Thanks for posting my photos!

Lisa-Marie said...

Great website, I love the articles. Very informative. Great job Ruben!

Mad William said...

Great post.
I can see your site is going to be one of my daily reads.

Now I'm off to start stocking up on my Polaroid film. I'm not ready to give them up just yet.

ruben said...

Thank you all!
Its turning into a hobby and I am learning more on a daily basis.
Thanks William!

angelo said...

Very informative. Working as an art director, showroom designer, photographer and photostylist the polaroid was an important tool of the trade. Instantly you could see how your photos would turn out when the real ones were getting processed. Now in the "digital and I want it now generation," where everything is so instant, you can see where it all started. . . with the Polaroid.

Paul Pincus said...

Love this post.

I still use mine ; )

Anonymous said...

I can remember when things were events.
The new car coming out every year, no. one on the hirt parade, discussing the latest episond of I Love Lucy, for the women weather hems should be long or short etc.
Very few things caught my fancy as seeing a picture right after you took it. It was an event and a miracle.
Polaroid was the thing to have. To see your memories develop right in front of you.
It was a good time when things were important and made a difference in our everyday life.
It was exciting to see technology unfold before our very eyes.
Things were different.
It is another farewell to a former time. Even digital cameras could not cause such love and excitement.
We have changed.
Who knows, time will tell if it is for the best.

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