Polaroid cameras are a Consumerist trap – but I don’t mind

Astrid Godfrey 22 February 2020

Polaroid cameras are a consumerist trap. I know this and was fully aware of it when I ordered my one a few months ago. The cameras themselves are expensive, as are the films (it works out to around 70p per photograph). But I love my camera and the photos I’ve taken with it. I recently went to a King’s formal and found a collection of polaroids in my bag that I only half remember taking, a lovely surprise that made the hangover slightly more bearable.

Even the photos that haven’t worked out that well, like the one I took with my housemates before our third year dinner, where I forgot to change the exposure setting, are special.

It is one of the most spectral and, in all honesty, genuinely creepy photos I have ever taken, but it still takes its place on my cupboard door where I put all of my polaroids, amongst photos from formals and the boat race, with undue sentiment attached to it.

That undue sentiment is why I love my polaroid camera so much. A photo of myself and my friend in my room after a swap which captures a nondescript moment is transformed by the medium into a treasured memory.

In a world where photos are abundant, there is something so special in having a unique non-digital object. After that King’s formal, as is common done after a function, we all exchanged photos taken from the night, but showing my friends photos of the polaroids was exciting in a way that was thrillingly novel, both for myself and for them.

So I’m falling into a consumerist trap: I don’t think I care.