The charm of the imperfect

Posted by Rob Walker on January 8, 2009
Posted Under: The Designed Life,Update

printer-pdAssociated Press reviews the Polaroid PoGo, which is the brand’s comeback-attempt product in the post instant-film era. (I wrote about Polaroid’s unwinding of its actual instant-film business in Consumed, March 16, 2008).

The PoGo is a digital camera priced at $200, with a built-in printer — so it sort of recreates the classic Polaroid idea of the instant print. (You can see a company video here, and a demonstration video that I found too long to watch, here.)

Here’s what I thought was most interesting from the AP review:

The prints  [are] grainy and the colors are slightly off, with faces tending toward a deathly blue-green….

As a camera, it’s primitive. It doesn’t have auto-focus, just a switch for infinity or close-up shots. The resolution is five megapixels, far below that of cheaper compact cameras. Neither of these things matter much for the quality of the prints, which are small and of low resolution anyway…

That all sounds bad … but maybe not.

The imperfections and limitations of actual Polaroid pictures were, in a way, part of their appeal.

I had been pretty skeptical of this product when I first heard about it, but, oddly enough, I find the flaws to be potentially the most attractive aspect of the PoGo. I wonder if any of the Polaroid diehards will, if not quite embrace it, at least be curious enough to give it a try — and if we’ll see some interesting creations as a result.

There’s already at least one PoGo prints Flickr pool. AP says the camera isn’t on the market until March or so, but I assume the “seeding” has begun (and for all I know that Flickr pool is a murketing effort from the company). But anyway I’m more curious now than I was when I first heard of the camera. We’ll see.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

I’d definitely consider playing around with the PoGo. I think grainy, low-quality aesthetics appeal to fans of cellphone pictures and Lomo photography. Speaking of which, I wonder if the design of the PoGo will inspire hacks and tweaks similar to that of Holga cameras, which have maintained a dedicated following and recent resurgence.

Written By Gladys Santiago on January 8th, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

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