The Future of Instant Photography: Impossible Project

A few years back, I unearthed a very fresh Polaroid Spirit 600 Camera from my parents’ basement. And by very fresh, I mean there was still plastic on the lenses and wrapped around the neck strap. Oh, and a full roll of film inside. I proceeded as any reasonable human being would; I immediately and frantically peeled off the plastic and started shooting – skylines and rivers and palm trees and people. Ended up with images featuring my fingertips at the bottom of the frame, as I tried to save the ferociously-ejected photograph from falling to the ground. The film was old and obviously washed-out and orangey and integrally wonderful. And then it was almost gone, and I had nothing decent to show for it. I had to keep going but…

As it turned out, the last Polaroid production plant in the world, in Enschede, The Netherlands, closed in 2008. But promptly, a Viennese Polaroid aficionado by the name of Florian Kaps and the recently ex-manager of instant film production, André Bosman, decided something had to happen, and fast.

Sometimes, endings and beginnings are just, like, one and the same.

Just days before the demolition of the original film production machines at the Enschede plant, the newly imagined Impossible Project stepped in and saved the day. They bought the plant and stinted the extinction of instant photography for good. The Impossible Mission was officially underway.

Two years later, in 2010, the first re-formulated versions of film for classic Polaroids were produced, saving some million instant cameras worldwide from becoming totally useless. Impossible Project produces film for SX-70, 600, Spectra-Image and 8x10s in extensive styles.

Their latest seems a celebration of instant photography’s come-back after near-extinction. Animal prints? Check it out:


images courtesy Kate Bellm © Impossible

About the Author: Elsie Sing'

Elsie is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; her writing has appeared in a few university publications, under tables and on the sides of trains. She likes taking Polaroid pictures and planning rooftop picnics.