Impossible Pictures of Pictures

Impossible Instant LabHey photo friends, Erik here with my quick 2 cents on a new product that has sparked some debate here in the CJ Studio. The Impossible Project has a Kickstarter campaign for their new “Impossible Instant Lab”, which will “transform your digital iPhone images into real instant photographs that you can touch, caress and share with friends.”   Take a look at the Kickstarter video for all the details:

I should love this thing.  I mean, it combines Polaroids with iPhone Photography with Kickstarter! What’s more hip and awesome than that?  The charm wears off for me quickly though when I realize that all of this is just taking pictures of pictures.  Is there any artistic merit here?  I respect the tangible nature of instant analog photography, but more than that I respect the difficulty, unpredictability, and commitment it takes to do it well.  In my opinion, all of that is lost when you’re using an instant camera more or less as a printer that connects to your iPhone. We LOVE our iphone dearly, but this gadget isn’t about that. Does an analogue printer of digital undermine instant analogue photography?

What do you think? Like I said, I should love this thing, but I don’t know

41 Responses to Impossible Pictures of Pictures

  1. Maurice October 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    In my opinion you’re right.
    Looks like an overcomplicated printer to me.

  2. majortom October 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Kinda seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist, or a process only for its own sake.
    It’s not like you can’t get prints from your iPhone photos in about a million ways already. Not to mention that half of the iPhone photo apps are about making your photos look like Polaroids to start with.
    Maybe then you could shoot the print with your iPhone, make a print of that, re-shoot that, etc. etc. So then the question is, how many times do you have to circle around before you have something you can sell for $30,000 in a gallery?

  3. Leonel Cortes October 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I’m an instant photography junkie. I own several cameras on several formats and to be homes this seems a very very bad idea. The beauty of analog photography is list when you are taking digital pictures, manipulate them in the phone and then take a picture of the screen. If I wante to do that I’d buy a Pogo printer. I’d rather buy another sx-70 or more film rather than invest in this silly proposition that just does not cut it from my point of view. Very lackluster it be awsome if this were a camera or better yet a film back.

  4. IM October 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    It’s a print process now. Artists outside of photography will be happy.

  5. Tomislav Mavrovic October 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I’ just wrote about these things on my site…it’s a really funny world we live in, people trying to deliberately destroy their 8MP images for the sake of some nostalgia/retro fascination they weren’t even a part of. The entire world was built upon people who tried to progress, do something different, better. The common folks would just play within the bounds of their time. Now this whole retrogasm of past 5 years, I guess the mid-life crises of all the 80s babies is actually trying to bring us back in a way. Back to cruddy lomo photos nobody actually cares about, back to grain, and now back to faux print. Let’s all go backwards.

    I find it literally amazing. And please don’t try to convince me with none of that “um, what, mobile photography is a great creative tool, if used properly” stuff. No it isn’t. A quick go-cart is just a quick go-cart, no matter how you slice it. It will never be a Formula 1 race car, no matter how many flannel shirts with black frames you put on while debating that it will.

    • majortom October 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Can’t say I totally agree, but awesome rant anyway!

  6. Matt LaVere October 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    As an instant film user, I’m not in love with it either. I’d rather keep my iPhone using Instagram and my polaroid land cameras pumping out true instant film. It’s a glorified (and overpriced) printer and doesn’t give the experience that polaroid gives us all. For $300 I can buy ALOT of Fuji FP-100C and FP-3000BW Film, and a land camera on craigslist with a better experience.

  7. oldsweng October 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    The first time I saw this I scratched my head wondering why the hell would I want that thing. I don’t.

  8. Gary October 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Now on one hand I totally agree that it is a wth? but any process you can hack to bring in uncontrollable variables to your art is a bit interesting. So you have the variable of the impossible film as well as the ability to move the camera or introduce random light leaks, your now looking at something close to the holga phenomenon .

    Still not sure that makes it better but if I got a free one I could think of things to do that would make it more interesting possibly.

  9. Kevin October 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    It’s kinda neat. IF I bought such a thing I have a feeling that I would use it once or twice, but after that it would be collecting dust in the corner. For me it would be a purchase out of pure curiosity and novelty. Not much beyond that.

  10. Tim Roper October 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I used to take pictures of the TV back when I was first learning about photography back in the film days. If I could find any of the prints I made, I could take an iPhone photo of them, and use this thing to print them back out. Wouldn’t that be ironic–I think.

  11. tom October 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    what’s more after the Gallileo disaster I won’t be supporting any further Kickstarter projects. I’ll just wait till the products make it into stores and someone reviews it.

  12. Game October 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    good stuff

  13. Liz October 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    I kinda dig it BECAUSE it’s essentially a Polaroid printer. I think most of us today are guilty of taking photos and then never printing them. Having the option to turn photos into Polaroids is a fun way to free some of those photos from the digital world and make them something tangable (and also cool). Sure you can just have your photos printed at a lab, but Polaroids are just cool, and there’s something about iPhone photos as Polaroids that just seems right to me.

  14. Liz October 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    All that being said, do I think it’s $150 neat? Ehh probably not.

  15. Ian October 4, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    I’ve become a big fan of Polaroid recently and have began slowly integrating them into my professional work. My clients LOVE them because they’re different. But it’s the whole Polaroid coming out of a quirky camera thing they love. This printers certainly an interesting concept. I’d love to have a play with it. However at the end of the day I’d rather drop the money on an SX-70 or invest in film. Polaroid cameras for Polaroids. iPhone for instant digital sharing of snapshots.

  16. Adrian October 4, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    In Australia the price of the film makes this a ridiculous proposition – $35 a pack!

  17. Jason October 4, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    ANY tool has artistic merit in the right hands. But I don’t really see the point of this. You can print digital pics
    from that little Polaroid printer Chase posted about last year. And if you really want them on actually Polaroid
    film, you likely own a Polaroid camera, just take a picture of the image up on your monitor. I mean, I love what
    Impossible Project is doing overall, especially since they are supporting my friend Amber’s project, but this
    seems like a complete waste of money. And most people who enjoy taking pics with their Polaroids, shoot
    with their Polaroids.

  18. faisal October 4, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Its no more impossible now with this project going live ;-)

  19. Saboodemoyen October 4, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    cool but why so expensive!!!!????

  20. suede October 5, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    I feel like everyone is missing one glaring point, making money. They are a film company, one who took over an old Polaroid factory, and they need ways to make money. You are a useless company if you are making instant film and instant film cameras in a day an age when you’ve seen Polaroid die. iPhone photography and Instagram is *massively* successful, and it is a brilliant idea to make a product that incorporates that and especially geared towards an app that makes pictures look like Polaroids. Their goal as a business is to make money and there is a niche market that wants instant prints. It is a fantastically innovative idea that they will probably make money off of. It could even get people into real film photography. Clearly no one posting understands the market this is aimed at (none are apart of it).

  21. Mark October 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Looks like a fad for the hipster masses more than a useful creative tool.

    • majortom October 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      “hipster masses” best oxymoron I’ve heard in a long time.

  22. A.D.Wheeler October 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Technology is developed to move FORWARD, never back. When nostalgia mixes with innovation, only waste is produced. Thumbs down.

  23. Tomislav Mavrovic October 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Agree with all the thumbs downers, this is nothing but hipster pretentious crap…why is Chase tweeting about it every few hours? I’ve wrote a lil something about it on my site, would be glad to have some of you check it out :)

  24. Mark Teasdale October 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    If I take 100 images on the iphone and like one I can print it. If I use a Polaroid camera to shoot 100 pictures at $3 a shot that is $300 to get what I want. Then the other 99 images would go into the land fill. This is better for the environment I am thinking.

  25. Alistair Nicol October 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Why don’t they just build a bluetooth printer that connects to the iphone??????????????

  26. Norm October 7, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    This does look very complex for no reason.

  27. DanielKphoto November 26, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Couldn’t you just use the polaroid little printer? I think that does more or less the same…

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  31. Invest in film April 20, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    If you want these individuals upon actually Polaroid video, an individual probable own some sort of Polaroid camera, just take a graphic on the image standing on ones observe. I am talking about, I really like what Difficult Challenge is performing entire, specifically since they are promoting my friend Amber’s project, nevertheless this appears like a whole waste materials associated with cash.

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  33. Derek Anson September 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    If the user is selecting shots to print, then where is the magic & feel of Polaroid?

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