The revival of the Polaroid

Well, sort of.  Earlier this year Petters Group Worldwide, the company that owns Polaroid Corp., announced that it would stop producing instant photography film. They were open to anyone that was interested in picking up the technology in order to continue to produce the film, and as it turns out, they found a couple of takers.

Polaroid artist John Reuter and philanthropist Daniel H. Stern have joined forces with their new firm 20X24 Holdings LLC to keep Polaroid alive… but only for the Polaroid 20×24 format.  This huge but lovely contraption stands 5-feet high and weighs 235 pounds, not exactly the Polaroid we’ve all come to know and love, but it’s a Polaroid none the less.  Only six 20x24s were made, five are left in use today.  The prints? Stunning instant color or black & white images that are 20×24 inches big. Film cost averages $65 per exposure, so working with the 20×24 requires skilled operation and perfect timing to avoid costly mistakes.

Developed to accurately reproduce works of art, especially paintings and tapestries, the camera was soon used as a creative tool to make original photographs. At 20×24 studios in New York City, Boston, Cambridge, Prague, and, most recently, San Francisco, talented artists explore the large-format system for personal and commercial expression.– Polaroid Corp.

Besides the one-of-a-kind nature of the Polaroid 20×24, photographers appreciate the format for its stunning results and the commitment to the process that is required in order to produce a quality print.

Mr. Reuter calls it the “king of all Polaroids,” because “it amplifies every aspect of the process.” Size. Near-instant results. The seductive steps needed to produce a picture. The sheer beauty of the prints themselves. — WSJ

And Polaroid is the only type of photography that ensures that the image produced is exactly as it was taken. No retouching, no editing. There’s certainly something to be said for the purity of the Polaroid art.

Here’s a look at the work of some of the most well known 20×24 photographers: William Wegman, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Douglas Kirkland via the Polaroid Studio. Enjoy.