A modern Polaroid love story
Shake it
A modern Polaroid love story

A public radio documentary that takes a tender look at two modern instant photo technologies - Polaroid and digital photography - and the human connections we make with them. Anticipated release Spring 2014. 

Includes interviews with...

Gus Van Sant (and his dog, Milo) - film director and photographer

Christopher Bonanos - author of "Instant: The Story of Polaroid"

Dave Bias - Vice President, USA, The Impossible Project

William Westley and Bruce Scott - PolaroidSF.com

Joe Robinson - Designers + Geeks

Station/Radio programming info --> click

Picture this.

The Mission District of San Francisco on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  I dropped into a camera store on Valencia. And that’s when I saw  

this gorgeous thing.  

This, the Polaroid SX-70. My mouth went dry. 

My cheeks got hot and flushed. 

Forget my iPhone camera 

and all the camera apps with the filters 

and the buttons and the sharing. 

Forget my digital camera, 

lonely somewhere 

in the back of a drawer. 

Forget the fact that the film 

for this camera is 

$20-something dollars for 8 precious shots.  

This handsome, brown leather-covered folding object 

captured me.

I had to have this camera.

And I thought this is a sweet reminder 
or brave introduction to love at first sight.

Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted.  --Susan Sontag


The other thing they always talked about at Polaroid was sharing.  And needless to say, the nature of photo sharing which they pioneered has exploded.  I’d be very curious whether Edwin Land felt his vision for that had been fulfilled. 

I think it has been fulfilled a thousand times over. 

-- Christopher Bonanos
There’s something, like, you put up a front when you put up any picture of yourself. 

I look at my Instagram feed and a concert I was at and 15 people had the same exact picture on their phone of the exact same thing. 

Do you really just want to know how to take a Polaroid? Or do you want to go deeper? We all want to connect and we all want to find a way to mean something to someone else.



It was somewhere around 1975. I had some money and with that money I sort of squandered it on this four-star revamped Polaroid.  

I don’t know how I afforded this - I would actually take a photograph of the actor in the storyboard set-up and I would paste the Polaroid into the place. To like say "okay we got this shot covered."

--Gus Van Sant, film director & photographer

Digital is a really microsecond moment in time. Polaroid seems to me to be kind of a few minutes moment in time.   
Something that I think is so different from digital is that once you start shooting with Polaroids it's not about the perfect photos. It's about the f*ckups. 
I’ve always thought about Polaroids 
as the best way to express oneself cause it's just such an immediate return on 
your artistic investment, right? 
I guess I like the whole thing about social media and being able to share. It’s kinda like instant gratification. You can instantly take a photo and you can instantly post it. Everyone has equal access to the web I guess, and equal access to like, publishing themselves. At the same time it kinda takes out the excitement of waiting for your film to be developed or waiting as you shake the Polaroid.  

We are kinda beyond that generation. We didn’t experience it, but we can definitely romanticize about it, talk about those feelings. People are not just abandoning it.  People still have an appreciation for it and we’re not just totally in the technological age of Facebook and Twitter, etc.  
We do sorta care still about waiting. I guess.
We have only just learned...that a new kind of relationship between people is brought into being by SX-70 when the members of the group are photographing and being photographed and sharing the photographs. 

It turns out that buried within us…there is latent interest in each other…there is tenderness, curiosity, excitement, affection, companionability and humor…

It turns out in this cold world where man grows distant from man and even lovers can reach each other only briefly, that we have a yen for and a primordial competence for a quiet good-humored delight in each other…  

--Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid and inventor of the SX-70
Your photos, words, voice and memories.

Be a part of the Polaroid Love Story project with Cowbird.

It's as easy as clicking the shutter. 

Cowbird - a witness to life.
The Polaroid Love Story Project
Join Cowbird and Tell A Story. Find
or take an instant photo. 

Write or record your story about 
your Polaroid. When you finish, 
click the campfire logo to add it to the 
Polaroid Love Story project. 
 It's more than just like.
It's love.
Copyright 2013 - 2014. All rights reserved. 

This project and site are not connected with or endorsed by Polaroid or PLR IP Holdings, owners of the Polaroid trademark.

With thanks to Vince Donovan of Photobooth SF, Cowbird and scrollkit.

Website photo credits: Brian Brooks, Oz LangDanny Sanchez, Billy Westley, Bruce ScottMegan Jones and Kent Sparling.

Special thanks to Claire Schoen and Dmae Roberts for editorial consulting.

Additional radio info and documentary credits.

Website design/production: Megan Jones

Producers members of: