Monday, April 7, 2008

Mama don't take My Polaroid away

As far as I can remember the year was circa 1996. I was slaving at a Design Factory (interiors, high-end retail shops, displays) and steady nailing the 20-year old Sexdream who worked there. Long legs, luscious lips, swinging hips, perfect ass. She would later fundamentally alter my life in ways I could not imagine at the time but that's a very different story.
We were collaborating on a Bloomingdales display and, on that day, we had a new toy.

A Polaroid Instant Camera! Our first.

We giggled and gawked at our work. One press of the button from that somewhat bulky box, a flash and then the magic arrival of an INSTANT PHOTO, however grey and blank it was, sliding out to meet me. Then the almost mystical reveal, a gradual yet compelling recreation of the image just snapped most suddenly, amazingly developing into a hard copy in my sweaty little hands and in front of my wondrous eyes. A transformation from nothingness into captured reality. A technological Abra-ka-dabra! A 2 minute miracle!
She glanced at me slyly, locking eyes.

“This could really be fun…….after work.”
I was embarrassed that I didn't think of it myself.

And thus began my career as a Polaroid Maniac.

The artless immediacy, the erotic urgency, the vibrant fleshiness, the ugly/beautiful/stark, true and undeniable verite quality of the reborn bodies, faces and forms always and forever satisfied, electrified and fascinated me. I’m Analog, Man. Those scraps of fat chemical paper were better than gold and more honest than money, at least to me. I never did advance into the Video era and never wanted to. Those frozen moments of ecstasy were enough and more than enough to satisfy my deepest desires and quench my most illicit thirsts.

Yes, I was very late to the party but then again I’ve always been a slow starter. Had I not proceeded to indulge my Polaroid obsession in the following years I most certainly would’ve regretted all the missed opportunities of my sordid past but all in all, I must plead Instamatic Satisfaction and neverending gratitude to the beautiful subjects/objects of my camera play and more specifically to my gorgeous, loving, generous GF from that lovely day.

Thanks always C.

Remember that tired question- If there were a fire what would be the one thing you would grab before you run out of the house?
I don’t even need to think twice or even once, I know exactly what I’m saving.

But now, sadly, like so much for the MTG Generation, the end is more than near, it's here.

In Feb. of this year (yes I realize I'm a step slow) Polaroid ended all production of the cameras and their expensive film. It would seem that there is no place for these clumsy, clunky, slow and pricey pieces of nostagiala in todays Digital Universe. As so often happens in this 50-yard Dash we call Life, my World just got a little darker, a trifle smaller, a bit sadder. Win some, lose some.

But fortunately I can still hold those fragile pieces of memory in my hands and recall the touch, taste, scent, lust and the love of all my yesterdays and fever dreams of all my tomorrows- My trifling treasure that I'll happily take to the grave.

And then, today, I remembered that I live in Japan, a fact I forget more easily than one might imagine.

A crazy, compulsive land that could surely define obsessive mania (indeed it may be the norm) and where, miraculously, Instant cameras are still the rage and remain in mass production for freaks like me and maybe even you.


Thank God for the O/C Japanese. Long may they reign!

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