Obits: Polaroid (1929-2009)

This month is the last month to buy film for the iconic Polaroid camera. The company decided to discontinue the "insta-camera" in February of this year. Yes, the format that captured your first triple-kiss is no more.

Rules were made to be broken: Lucas Samaras disturbed their surfaces to create surreal portraits and landscapes. Why approach the sensitive object gingerly? Samaras exploited its sensitivity and manipulated it to reflect black magic and hyper-realism rather than conventional hallmarks.

Losing the polaroid is a great reminder of how modest ideas and inventions can become linked with unexpected importance and drawn into unexpected applications. The Polaroid aesthetic burrowed its way into American culture with Robert Mapplethorpe and later with Terry Richardson. Polaroids might be gone today but its effects will probably continue for some time to come.

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