Monday, March 31, 2008

Shake It Like A...

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from an Oregonian reporter who wanted to talk Polaroid. He was writing a story about how Portlanders are dealing with the loss of Polaroid, now that the company is giving up production of its flagship product. I talked with him and sent him a copy of this picture:

600dpi fun.jpg

It is one of my favorite Polaroids, taken in Chicago on a trip after I'd moved away. Al's, and his sign, are on a busy street just outside the neighborhood where I lived for several years. I drove by this spot regularly, but it wasn't until I left town that I got around to snapping this picture.

I loved this picture so much that it led me on a Polaroid journey of sorts. I started to take pictures of other food signs. New England is packed with fun signs, for red hots, Del's lemonade and roadside diners admonishing guests to "eat heavy."* Armed with my trusty (purchased on a Brooklyn street for $5) Polaroid, I snapped my way through several years and many signs. Once that camera kicked it, I turned to my Holga and cell phone camera for the immediacy and snap-shot quality I'd loved in my Polaroid.

I think the reporter was a little disappointed when I told him that I now own a Fuji instant camera. In talking to Polaroid fanatics, he'd met people who were vastly more committed to the form than I could ever be. He talked to one guy who said he'd keep shooting Polaroids until the film rain out, then he'd abandon his camera forever. I like Polaroids, but I like a lot of media. If I can get film from Fuji, I will. Once I saw the guy's article - which focused exclusively on Portland-based "artists' " response to losing Polaroid - I felt less bad about not living up to whatever idea he had about how Polaroid fans were taking the news.

In any case, to see some more Polaroids, and read some stories from fans of the camera, check out the online companion to the story, which was published on Friday.

*The reporter got the facts wrong in his story, and assumed my "eat heavy" picture was taken in Chicago.


  1. Wow. Sounds like a strange yet cool cult you've become a part of. I also can see the mistake- I would think that was Chicago as well. Man I just got hungry!

    PS- I think you saw you've been tagged!

  2. I love the sign pictures that you post. I didn't realize you had taken them. Great idea.