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the past instant revived

May 26, 2009

[NYTimes] ENSCHEDE, the Netherlands — In this small town just across the border from Germany, a small group of Dutch scientists and one irrepressible Austrian salesman have dedicated themselves to the task of reinventing one of the great inventions of the 20th century — Polaroid’s instant film.

Digital cameras are ubiquitous, cheap and easy to use — the reasons Polaroid stopped making the film last year — so what this group in Enschede is attempting may seem hopelessly retrograde. But to them, that is exactly the point. They want to recast an outdated production process in an abandoned Polaroid factory for an age that has fallen for digital pictures because they think people still have room in their hearts for retro photography that eschews airbrushing or Photoshop. “This project is about building a very interesting business to last for at least another decade,” said Florian Kaps, the Austrian entrepreneur behind the effort. “It is about the importance of analog aspects in a more and more digital world.”

No one said it would be easy. Chemical processes and the chemicals themselves must be reinvented in a factory that, though littered with Polaroid detritus of yore, lacks the necessary materials to restart production. Crucial equipment nearly landed in a Dutch dump. But the group got a break when prosecutors in the United States arrested the private equity investor who owned Polaroid’s assets. Mr. Kaps is, if anything, enthusiastic despite the hurdles he faces. He hopes to start production later this year for distribution in the United States, Europe and Asia and is convinced there is still an eager market for Polaroid film packs. (read)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. severnyproductions permalink
    May 26, 2009 7:10 am

    If it does restsrt they might sell as a novelty or to a photographer with a mind for history. But to most people digital now leads the way. Its a risky idea but maybe they’ll find their niche market.

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