Live Life Like a Polaroid

In this day and age, iPhones are around to hold every important piece of information about us, from meetings and appointments to credit card information and even our fingerprints! But they also store something very sentimentally valuable: photos.

And behind every cherished photo in an album or on a social media platform are the 50+ failed attempts to “capture” the perfect shot. It’s not authentic and sometimes a bit saddening how much we strive toward utilizing this modern tech to trick people into thinking that with one click of the camera button, our photo is ready for IG #nofilter. It perpetuates a social culture of perfection and the unhealthy mentality of stigmatizing human flaws. Our focus is so lasered in on the absence of mistakes in celebrities that we zero in on how best to mirror that in ourselves and attack the parts of ourselves that don’t look like the professionally edited and photoshopped people - you know why? Because they’re not supposed to. We’re creating the message that flaws are meant to be erased, minimized, and certainly not celebrated. However, I am also guilty of this practice.

That’s why I’m so happy there has been a resurgence in the past few years of retro-inspired Polaroid cameras with film and that nostalgic feel. Even though they have modernized the structure of the camera, you don’t get many do-overs (plus a box of film is still rather expensive at any local Target).

People really do love the look of Polaroids. Many people, myself included, have a few IG photos taken of their own Polaroids, and that’s the beauty of them. They’re versatile, aesthetically pleasing, compact, and it’s a genuine moment of happiness. Some of my own personal favorites include caught-off-guard laughing shots, sweet times with my sister, and otherwise commonplace items being revamped with the sleek border, like one of my bullet journal entries or letters from home. It’s also really special to put the date on the bottom of the border to never forget the days documented in the picture.

When someone pulls out their Polaroid camera, it’s often to capture the unfiltered side of a memory or a person they want to remember. It’s no longer about standing in the same position for 15 minutes, taking frame by frame pictures that look alllmost identical to the previous ones, minus a strand of hair. It’s the raw essence of the passage of time being photographed, not a picture-perfect OOTD.

 

Taking a Polaroid photo is a spontaneous, one shot, that’s-all-you-get type of moment. It’s the shutter of the actual lens, the anticipation that comes from waiting for the photo to develop, and loving what the outcome is because of all the reasons it isn’t perfect, because life certainly isn’t.

 

Am I guilty of the theatrics of a good IG picture? Oh, absolutely. But I think all of us could benefit from living life like do-overs aren't doable, that every moment is unique, in pursuit of authenticity, without worry of also capturing imperfections and finally, by following the wise words of OutKast, to “shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

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