Save instant photos: Toronto photographer mourns coming end of Polaroids

Fujifilm announced last month it would stop producing its colour, peel-apart instant film. Photography, the thinking goes, has gone digital. But instead of mourning the film, photographers staging a protest.

Fujifilm announced its abandoning film for instant cameras

This Polaroid cannot take photos without the film Fujifilm decided to stop producing. (Francesco Gasperini/Change.org)

Just a month after Fujifilm announced it would stop producing its colour, peel-apart instant film, some photographers are focussing on bringing it back to life.

An online petition, Save Instant Film, with close to 19,000 signatures, is demanding the company reverse the decision and bring back instant film.

Many are waiting for film that's on backorder. Chris Hughes is one of the photographers upset over the news, and the founder of the web-design company, A Nerd's World. He also collects hundreds of antique cameras — over 50 of his cameras use this film.

He has stockpiled an entire refrigerator of film in his basement. He estimates there are 700 packs of film in that fridge.

"Why is this difficult to swallow? A lof of our vintage cameras will no longer function. They will sit on shelves and collect dust," said Hughes.

Photographers and camera collectors alike are devastated with some recent news. Matt Galloway spoke with Chris Hughes. He is a photographer, and the founder of A Nerd's World. 4:40

Hughes and other Polaroid users differentiate themselves from the rest of the photography that happens today. He calls himself a "film enthusiast" who likes to capture one moment of time with one photo. That's in contrast to digital photography, in which photos are constantly taken, every moment.

"In the digital era, you have thousands of photos on a computer than no one will ever print and put in a photo album," he said. "I can hand you one of these photos. So there's something physical, and that's the part I enjoy the most."

But it's not nostalgia for tactile photos. The peel-apart film that's being discontinued is quality grade film, used by professionals. This is different from many of the instant cameras that are coming out today, which are mostly for children.

Fujifilm phased out black-and-white peel-apart film two years ago.

In the time since Fujifilm made this announcement, an informal market for film has gained more popularity, and prices have doubled and even tripled, said Hughes.

For now, the amateur photographer said he is just going to "make sure each photo counts" and savour his time with his vintage camera.

"Money talks. I know these bigger company's profit margins, and making a dollar is more important than 19,000 signatures online," he said.

"Everytime I click the shutter I'm counting down one less exposure in my film fridge."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.