Impossible Factory Open House Day


Last Friday I went to visit the Impossible Project in the Netherlands. I have known about the project pretty much since its beginning, when some people re-started the production of instant film after Polaroid closed down its business. And – although I haven’t used it recently — I do own a Polaroid camera (two, to be precise) and used to buy Impossible film. I had heard about their open factory day before and each time I thought I should go, because it’s not far and it would for sure be interesting, but I never did. Until last Friday. And: it wasn’t far (Enschede is about two hours by train from where I live) and it was incredibly interesting. I’d recommend it for everyone who ever took a Polaroid picture. Or is interested in analog photography. Or in photography in general.

At first we got an overview about what exactly happens in a Polaroid photo (I don’t know whether it’s okay to call it Polaroid, as it’s not that brand anymore, but you know what I mean). There’s a lot of chemical stuff going on, as not only a photo is taken, but it’s developed immediately, too. So it’s pretty much a complete photo lab in a very flat sheet of paper.

After that basic knowledge we met our tour guides (there are tours in Dutch and in English) who showed us around the amazing building. It’s part of the old Polaroid factory (back then they used a few more buildings, though) and walking through it mostly felt like time-hopping into another era. Of course there are computers and modern technology, but most of the machines are the ones that just stayed there after Polaroid left the site. (Some of them even have to be operated in complete darkness, by the way.)

I had never really thought about how instant film is made and was quite impressed how complicated it is, how many steps are necessary and how many problems have to be solved during the process. And now I’m really inspired to use my Polaroid camera again soon.

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