You may or may not have noticed I happen to be particularly fond of film. The whole civil rights thing aside, I think I would have really enjoyed growing up in the golden years of film photography rather than trying to play catch up to the past like I am today. With the recent discontinuation of Fuji Pack Film, another piece of the art form seems to be meeting its extinction. Unless Impossible Project picks it up, this will soon mean the end of the line for Polaroid Type 100 cameras altogether.
It reminds me of when I was first getting into film photography myself, only to come to the realization that I had missed the opportunity to ever use Kodachrome by several years. For me, the film vs. digital argument was never one about which was better or more cost effective. It's always been a creative choice. If film disappears, you're not just losing a less convenient way of doing the same thing a digital camera can do much quicker and easier, you're losing an entire medium of artistic expression. "Why shoot film when you can just use VSCO?" is like saying, "Why bother with oil paints when you've got Adobe Illustrator and 3D printers?" One medium of art doesn't simply replace the other just because the end product of each might be similar or one more cost effective in the long run. They are two completely different types of artistic expression.
However, this doesn't mean that any new or similar innovations that take the place of dying technologies are any less of an art form, or should be viewed with any lesser regard than what came before them. Which brings me to Fuji Instax. Anytime you hear somebody say they're shooting "Polaroid cameras" today, what they're probably talking about is Fujifilm's line of Instax cameras. While they're not actually Polaroid cameras (Polaroid was a brand, not a technology, think Kleenex), they are the most consistent, reliable, and cost-effective method of shooting instant film today.
Developed in the early 90s under an agreement with Polaroid, they took over the instant film market share when Kodak ceased production on instant film cameras and Polaroid went under. Today, they're one of two companies (along with Impossible) still producing and innovating instant cameras and film. When I started shooting instant film, I went with early Polaroid 100 series cameras (and FP-100C / 3000B film) and a Polaroid SX-70, mainly because I really wanted to experience the classic technology the way someone would have if they were growing up in the film era. Now, with the rising costs and eventual extinction of the leftover pack film due to its discontinuation, it's finally time for me to switch to Instax.
Truthfully, I'm kind of excited about it. I've had my eye on some Instax cameras for quite some time, and have been eager for a more reliable and sustainable instant film solution when shooting in various lighting conditions. So for me, it's time to embrace this evolved art form, and likely confuse the hell out of everyone when I insist on calling the cameras Instax and not Polaroid. After all, if you wipe your nose on a paper towel, you may have accomplished the same goal, but you haven't used a Kleenex. So I'll be happily joining the ranks of Instax users in the near future once I, you know, get a job...
Speaking of, have you visited the Print Store lately?