A simple recipe for coolness: 1) be ubiquitous and fun, 2) become obsolete but remain an object of nostalgia, 3) wait at least a decade, and then, 4) come struttin’ back into town.
The exhibit, opening from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29, will include Polaroid images by 14 local photographers, whose expertise ranges from professional to first-timer.
Paul Somers, fresh off his project to resurrect the Super 8 film format as co-founder of Harrisonburg’s first annual (and extremely successful) Super Gr8 Film Festival this fall, is one of the Polaroid show’s organizers.
“I’ve always loved the Polaroid,” said Somers, comparing its instant reward to the digital format that has replaced it. “The difference is that the [Polaroid] format makes you far more conservative and cautious in your picture taking, which translates to better-planned images.”
The Impossible Project, a company that bought Polaroid’s last remaining production plant in the Netherlands in 2008 and has since begun releasing new instant film for Polaroid cameras, is one of Somers’ inspirations and a sponsor of the show.
‘A Show of Instance’ will run for just one week – a nod to the format’s quickness – but Somers plans to bring back future editions every three months.
And so, Viva la Polaroid – familiar, simple, quick, and still somehow magical, an image that appears from a black nothing between your fingers over a few long seconds.
“This …film that develops right in front of your eyes was created 60 years ago, and is still incredible,” Somers said.