Shake It

New Polaroid Exhibit Marks the End of an Era

Before digital cameras gave both professional and amateur photographers instant gratification, there was the iconic Polaroid, which established itself as a mainstay from fashion-model necessity to pop-song lyric fodder with OutKast’s “Hey Ya.” But next month, the 60-year love affair with the film you couldn’t help but shake will end as the last batch of instant Polaroid film expires. In celebration and remembrance of the final use-by date, the Atlas Gallery in London is bringing together the film’s best in “Polaroid: Exp 09.10.09.” The exhibit begins October 9 and will be on display through November 28. It includes Polaroids—which are all for sale—from a diverse group of artists including the eminent Andy Warhol, who used Polaroids as preliminary sketches for his paintings of famous subjects. The famed Pop artist said of the equally famous piece of pop culture, “There is something about the camera that makes the person look just right. I take at least 200 pictures and then I choose.” Though the film’s scarcity now makes such a choice damn near impossible—a group of European Polaroid enthusiasts and ex-employees have begun The Impossible Project ( and leased a former factory in Holland, planning to restart the Polaroid film production later this year.