Yet another Polaroid song, this one by Ted Leo, the brainy postpunk rocker who came to prominence with his band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. My friend Sara has been telling me for years that I need to listen to him, and it just so happens that he has a song that syncs up with my obsession d’année. She’s right: It’s my kind of record, even without the Pola-connection.

One-photo-per-day projects were popular in Polaroid’s heyday, notably the one conducted by Jamie Livingston. What’s interesting here is that he doesn’t offer the usual mix of winsome whimsy that usually pervades songs about Polaroid. Instead, Leo’s attitude is barbed. The desire to make an instant picture every day is twinned with the idea of being controlling, of wanting to shape reality. That’s interesting (although god knows what it says about me), and I like it.

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2 Responses to Ted Leo, “One Polaroid a Day”

  1. Ashish says:

    Polaroid’s 21st century venrute into what made them an American standard- the instant photo- has its triumphs and trappings. I’ve broken my review into two separate fields: Design , Cost and Verdict . DESIGN: Where Polaroid had originally been a trailblazer in design, the 300 is identical to the Fuji Instax, down to the film itself. A disappointment, for sure. The design of this body and the film it produces leaves something to be desired, as well. While lighter and (technically) smaller than its predecessors, the 300 still has a very chunky, boxy feel to it. More so than this, however, is the departure of its traditional square frame to a reduced business card size. To shoot horizontal, you have to turn the camera on its side: if you’re right-handed (like myself and 80% of the world) there’s a strong possibility your hand could obstruct the flash. I found the disparity between what you’re seeing in the viewfinder and the ACTUAL picture to be pretty drastic. I would almost advise anyone to shoot entirely in horizontal to better your odds of success, as your frame will be longer in width. You’re almost better off shooting blind! Those have become the best pics I’ve taken with this thing. Having dropped it on two separate occasions already, I can attest to its durability. The batteries (four AA’s) flew everywhere upon impact the first time: since this was at a party and poorly lit, that was the end of photojournalism for the evening. However, what may have otherwise cracked a digital LCD screen left this model (relatively) unscathed. So, points on that. COST: The camera itself is on sale for $89. While this may appear steep, it is in fact the cheapest instant camera on the market, beating the Fuji Instax by as much as $40. It is also the cheapest film, at $10 per pack of ten exposures. Don’t waste your time looking for 600 film on Ebay: it’s all officially vintage , which is to say around $100 and expired. The problem with retro tech is there’s no certainty of a lifespan. Between its use of old film chemistry vs. the new, bio-friendly Zink film AND Polaroid’s new Grey label dropping this spring, it’s hard to say how long the 300 is going to be around. To put $100+ into a nostalgic jaunt down memory lane may not be worth it to you if you can’t use it a year from now VERDICT: I received this as a present for X-Mas. I may have felt differently if I had to buy it outright. If I had to troubleshoot this personally, I may have gone to The Impossible Project to get some old 600 film that way- it’s still steeper than 300 film, but you’ve already got your camera and you know what you’re getting, for what that’s worth. As it stands now, for better or worse, I’ve hitched my ride to the 300. If you’re reading this, though, you probably already have a love of analog film and are in need of a push? If you’ve thrown out all your original instant cameras and are looking to start fresh, I would recommend the 300! The Fuji Wide is bigger, but has the same shelf-life issues and even more expensive than the Instax! Who knows how much the GL30 will cost? And while Zink film may be saving the planet, it doesn’t hold a candle to the 300 s photo-chemical 800 ISO. If you defy all things digital, are not content with simply keeping your media on a cloud , or wish to return to a simpler time of unpredictable blotching and washed-out white values, the 300 is the best (READ: most affordable/accessible) the market has to offer. Grab up your film before they nix it again, today!

  2. Bizimana says:

    This is a great idea. Love the kitsch focatr with Polaroids. Love your whole blog as a matter of fact. Will be back tomorrow in my jammies with my tea for a more thorough going over.But while I am here now, you are a winner in my Faber & Faber poetry giveaway. Congratulations! Please forward me your shipping address?[]

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