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Polaroid Pop

Negative Positives

“A massive slow whirring orgasm” – Polaroid POP review

Technology

Imagine a camera which delivers tricksy digital delights but also gives you an instant analogue hit. Or don't imagine, just read this.

Polaroid Pop

First of all, I’m very bad at photography, so apologies for the inexpert images on this story. But I do love photography, and have a great deal of affection for Polaroid cameras, having spent my formative magazine years assisting on shoots, which mostly involved making tea for psychotically paranoid agents, but on occasion allowed me to experience shaking newly printed Polaroids used for test shots, and blowing on them, which I’m sure didn’t help develop any quicker, but which was fun to do. There was a certain magic to seeing the instant film emerge and then the image slowly bring itself to life before your eyes, and the whole look of them was so classic, so Warholian, so physical, that they seemed more valuable than the proper shoots.

And then of course phone cameras came out and destroyed instant film, the bastards. Except of course, that’s no longer true, and companies like Lomography and Polaroid themselves are experiencing something of a new golden era by either playing to their analogue strengths to break the meaningless moment-by-moment phone photography of today, or by fusing digital and instant film in new and appealing ways.

On the latter tip, I was recently loaned one of the new Polaroid POP instant print digital cameras to review. Here’s some things I discovered:

Polaroid Pop

1) It functions as a normal digital camera. 

Yes, you can simply point and shoot, play around with colour and effects on the camera itself, and then store the images on your computer. But it’s not really about that, the POP is pretty hefty in size if not weight – I took it along to the Podfest for Mental Health, above, and while its size means everyone is interested in it, you can’t exactly stick it in your jeans – and you know, you have your phone for such simple matters. No, the real fun with the POP comes when you start to print your images out of the top of the camera..

Polaroid POP

2) When you print it out, the image on the screen moves up in tandem with the film!

I mean, I can’t stress how pleasurable this is. You have the digital pic on your POP, press to print it, and as the instant film comes out of the top of your camera, the digital pic moves up in tandem with it.

Shall I explain again, or…? No, you got it, of course. Forgive me, it’s just so maddeningly addictive it’s like discovering masturbation again. Yeah, you press print and it comes out of the top in such a pleasurable way. Excuse my language, but it’s fucking brilliant, like a massive slow whirring orgasm.

Christ, I even disgusted myself with that analogy. Moving on…

3) You can do cool effects.

This is me in negative – or since I’m quite a negative person, perhaps this is me in positive – anyway, I’m holding a light in this picture, though thanks to this effect it looks like I’m going bowling with the Smurfs.

4) It’s a nice distraction tool. 

In this picture I’m about 200 metres in the air in a hot air balloon. It was on a press trip to Cognac in France, and I was extremely freaked out by being that high. Luckily with the POP you can put big googly eyes to disguise your fearful real eyes. But also, it being this chunky colourful thing, it’s fun to use and pass around to other people to check out, which makes for a good distraction tool when every synapse in your body is telling you to scream in holy terror and to crawl sobbing inside the skin of the person next to you.

5) You can digitally draw on it with your finger. 

Which is probably good for young people, but for dads with fat stupid fingers it’s hard to make the letters come out right. It took me about 230 attempts to write ‘COR’ on this picture of some ancient barrels of lovely, lovely cognac. You may ask why I made such an effort to write a banality from 1970s England, to which I have no answer.

Polaroid POP

6) You can stick things on your face.

Lightning bolts, question marks, love hearts and other such things can build you some mystery or point out embarrassing defects in your friends. Mega.

7) Kids love it. 

Here’s me and my daughter. She gets excited by most things, but even her amazing pitch of perpetual joy reached a new high when we printed out this photo on the POP. Maybe she’ll sleep again one day.

Happiness, that’s what it’s all about. Does the Polaroid POP bring back some happiness to taking photos? Yes, yes it does.

Buy the Polaroid POP.

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