Anyone run across the word “skeuomorph” lately? It describes a visual vestige—a traditional form that reappears in some other context where it’s meaningless. For example, if an object was once made of leather pieces stitched together but is now made of molded plastic on which designers have added fake molded stitches, those seams are skeuomorphs.

Digital photography most definitely does not require a chemical pod at the bottom of the photo. Yet everywhere you look online, “casual snapshot” is conveyed by a white Polaroid frame.

In the New York Times’s real estate section:








On the Website of my own employer, New York magazine:





And even on eBay, when someone fails to add a photo to a sales listing:







More often than not, the frame is canted at a slight angle or given a digital drop shadow. My friend Mark points out that this helps convey the physicality of a Polaroid photo—that it’s an object as well as an image.

One Response to Another Ghost in the Machine

  1. Luciana says:

    Was it shot with the same vintage oiparlod camera? I really want to get one and starting experiementing some shots where in London area would you recommend to a newbie like myself to invest a vintage oiparlod camera?

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