Ditch Your Phone! Embrace Real Life: Polaroid Defends Human Connection with New Color Film

2024 will be a new revolution in selfie technology with Polaroid’s limited edition collaboration with Pantone’s Color of the Year “Peach Fuzz”.

As Anna D. Smith, founder of Anna D. Smith Fine Art and Real Estate Broker in Silicon Valley, let me share something truly exciting. We’re known for our unique TIIN approach – trademark, independence, inventory, and network. This approach has opened doors to a world of prelaunch products and insider information, earning me the title “Queen of the Underground Art World.”

I’m thrilled to talk about Polaroid’s new venture. They’re introducing a special edition film in collaboration with Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2024, “Peach Fuzz.” This isn’t just about a new color; it’s a statement about human connection. The velvety peach hue of the eight instant films symbolizes unity, warmth, and compassion – qualities we all crave and need more of in these times.

Photo by Marqel Allen

Polaroid’s new film offers a unique medium for creators to express complex emotions, to capture life’s raw moments beyond just words. It’s a call to slow down, to appreciate the real world, to cherish human connections away from the digital realm. This film encourages us to embrace both the highs and lows of life, finding beauty in that contrast.

Polaroid Chairman Oskar Smolokowski put it perfectly:

This is about inspiring creators to engage with the real world and celebrate genuine human connections.

Photo by Eduardo Salgado

The Polaroid Pantone Color of the Year 2024 Edition i-Type Film will hit the markets soon, available on polaroid.com in January and in select retailers from February 1. It’s compatible with several Polaroid cameras and the Lab Printer, priced at $19.99 / €19.99 / £18.99 per pack.

Photo by Eduardo Salgado

I see this as more than just a product; it’s a cultural statement, a chance to reconnect with the essence of life and art. And I’m excited to see how it resonates with our sophisticated clientele and the art world at large.

About Polaroid

Polaroid was founded by Edwin Land in 1937 as an icon of innovation and engineering. The company first produced ski goggles and 3D glasses for the US Army and Navy. It wasn’t until 1943 when Land’s daughter asked why she couldn’t see a photograph of herself immediately that the idea for the instant camera was born. In 1947 it became a reality with the first ever instant camera. It was the introduction of the breakthrough Polaroid SX-70 camera in 1972 that launched instant photography.

As we know it today, followed by landmark innovations such as the original OneStep, instant color film; and the Polaroid 600 and Spectra cameras and film formats.

Polaroid cameras went on to inspire artists such as Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Maripol, Keith Haring, and Guy Bourdin who raised the brand to the status of a cultural icon.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the swift rise of digital technology eclipsed instant photography and Polaroid announced the end of instant film production in 2008. But that was short-lived; a dedicated group of instant photography fans under the name ‘The Impossible Project’ saved the last Polaroid factory in the Netherlands. Since then, they have been the only people in the world making film for vintage Polaroid cameras.

In 2017, The Impossible Project re-launched as Polaroid Originals: a brand dedicated exclusively to Polaroid’s original analog instant photography products. Bringing analog instant photography back under the Polaroid umbrella was a significant milestone, but it was not the end of the journey. In March 2020, Polaroid took the next step and became one brand, with the one name: Polaroid.

Today, Polaroid has analog instant photography at its core and represents the brand that people all over the world came to know and love for over 80 years. By unifying its entire product portfolio under one name, Polaroid is setting out its new vision as a global brand that will continue to create products that bring people together in human and meaningful ways.

2021 Polaroid x Keith Haring

For Pride Month in June of 2021, Polaroid released the Polaroid x Keith Haring collection celebrating the legacy of the iconic artist Keith Haring. This special edition included the Polaroid Now i-Type Instant Camera – Keith Haring Edition, which was priced at $139.99, and the Color i-Type Film – Keith Haring Edition, priced at $18.99. Both items are sold out.

This collection allowed you to hold onto Keith Haring’s artistic legacy with a Polaroid Now camera that featured his love for bold colors and lively illustrations. The camera and film were inspired by Haring’s status as an art rebel and his impactful, colorful artwork. This special edition was a tribute to his life, art, and spirit, offering a unique way to capture and cherish moments with a touch of artistic history.

In August of 2021, I purchased the Polaroid x Keith Haring camera and film, after it was featured in the PBS documentary Icon: Music Through the Lens. Understanding Polaroid’s, along with Keith Haring’s cultural significance, I used the camera and film during my Covid-19 outdoor billboard art exhibition “Look Up!”.

The exhibition featured my client Donald “C-Note” Hooker, the world’s most prolific prison artist and his Incarceration Nation.

The photo that I took, I named it ICONS: Polaroid-Haring-C-Note. The photo has been published in several digital publications, including Art In Context’s History of Polaroid – The Cultural Legacy of This Iconic Brand.” ICONS also became the inspiration for C-Note’s 2021, wax on canvas, C-Note on Haring.

On the 5th of May in 2022, I attended the Mills College Jane Green Endowed Lecture in Art History, Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood: Art, Abolition, and Black Feminist Activism. The event featured Nicole R. Fleetwood, the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication in the Steinhardt School at New York University.

A MacArthur Fellow, for her 2020, Marking Time: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration, I was at the event to hear her speak, especially on art created by prisoners. Afterwards, I was able to photograph Dr. Fleetwood holding the C-Note on Haring. You can see the photo in my blog post, “Invest in Art with Impact: ‘C-Note on Haring’ Available for $15,000.”

Mills College was founded as the Young Ladies Seminary in 1852 in Benicia, California; it was relocated to Oakland in 1871 and became the first women’s college west of the Rockies. Today, 61% of the student body at Mills are women. I mentioned this to set the stage for what took place when I mentioned my client to Dr. Fleetwood.

Dr. Fleetwood knew my client, and granted my request to be photographed with the C-Note on Haring. I also had with me, my Polaroid x Keith Haring camera, which immediately caused a stir amongst the other attendees waiting to talk to Dr. Fleetwood. Putting two and two together, it smelt like celebrity to the awaiting crowd, who then kind of forcibly wanted to be seen photographed with the C-Note on Haring using the Polaroid x Keith Haring camera and film. Unfortunately, due to high demand, I have not been able to purchase the Polaroid x Keith Haring film. And so, the ultimate photo was a classic Polaroid photograph.

These ladies are photographed holding the original “C-Note on Haring” at the Jane Green Endowed Lecture in Art History at Mills College featuring Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood

In conclusion, the synergy between Polaroid’s innovative ventures and the art world has created not just a product, but a cultural phenomenon. The Polaroid x Keith Haring collaboration and the upcoming Pantone “Peach Fuzz” film exemplify this. They’re not just tools for capturing images; they’re gateways to experiencing and preserving art, culture, and human connections in a tangible form.

Polaroid’s journey, from its inception to its rebirth under Polaroid Originals, reflects a commitment to keeping the essence of instant photography alive. By embracing both its heritage and the potential for future innovations, Polaroid is not just surviving in the digital age; it’s thriving, proving that there’s still a significant place for analog in our increasingly digital world.

The enthusiastic response to the Polaroid x Keith Haring camera and film, and the anticipation for the “Peach Fuzz” edition, illustrate the enduring allure of Polaroid’s brand and the power of physical photographs in a world dominated by digital imagery. These initiatives do more than just capture moments; they immortalize emotions, art, and the human spirit.

From my personal experiences and those of countless others, these cameras and films are more than artistic tools; they are catalysts for connection, discussion, and cultural engagement. They remind us of the value of the tangible in an ephemeral world, encouraging a return to authenticity and personal interaction.

Polaroid’s ongoing innovation, rooted in its rich legacy, continues to impact the art world and beyond, reminding us of the enduring power of physical, instant photography in capturing not just images, but the essence of life itself.

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