Jesse Jarnow

the new polaroids

I’m a big fan of Polaroids, I have a few cameras, some of them even working, and my shelves are littered with boxes of pictures. With the ubiquity of digital cameras, all consumer-level photography is pretty much instant these days. Everything is a Polaroid. I’ve long thought, though, that lo-fi cell phone cams probably come closest to embodying what was special about the obsolete technology.

On one hand, cell pictures are silly and “cheap” (more on that in a moment), but — on the other hand — they present a series of technical limitations that can result in some great pictures. Polaroids are/were very good at capturing certain subjects and colors — rich blue skies, for example. I imagine that cell cams will prove to have their own specialties.

Like Polaroids, cell pictures are meant to be ephemeral. Where Polaroids generally cost $1 a shot and took a long moment to develop, one likewise doesn’t really know what cell phone shots look like until he sends them back to his computer (and, just as he had to be judgmental at a dollar a pop, barring the purchase of a USB cable, he usually has a limit of pictures he can upload each month).

All of which is to say: I got a new phone this week and have started to take some pictures. So far, I’m most enjoying the varying ways the low resolution distorts different light sources (a TV, a digital radio tuner, a candle). Check it.

More to come, hopefully! I think I need a USB cable…