This year has seen a lot of debate in the world of photography. It all seemed to kick off in February when Polaroid announced they would be discontinuing the production of their legendary instant film. The announcement was met with horror by many in the design community and it spawned various corporate activism campaigns to try and reverse the decision – such as the aptly titled Save Polaroid. Despite such a toxic reaction, Polaroid seems set to proceed with their decision. This seems to have left the design community in a reflective mood, with many recent articles investigating the cost technological innovation has had on creativity.
One of the best examples is Kate Williams’ piece about film vs digital in the latest issue (Issue 20) of Monster Children. “The debate about which is better – digital or film – might best be compared to reading the book or seeing the movie: one is slower, more antiquated and requires more skill; the other quick, easily accessible to everyone, and guaranteed to entertain,” says Williams. Importantly, Williams discusses the inherent emotionality attached to film. “Film is romantic, it is tactile – an artistic process rather than a technological one. It is also nostalgic”.
In the modern day battle of film vs digital, can seemingly antiquated ideals such as romanticism and nostalgia overthrow the twin bastions of technology and innovation? As the old Polaroid ad slogan used to say, we’ll just have to “See What Develops”.