Before the hipster-driven snapshot craze and before the Instagram effect, Polaroid pioneered some of the greatest photographic technology in history.
The Polaroid Corporation also filed for bankruptcy protection multiple times in the post-digital photography world. And after it stopped manufacturing its own cameras in 2007, the company stopped of its iconic instant film for good in 2008. The final batches of film were sold in Urban Outfitters.
But that last year of Polaroid was an incredible one. First-time filmmaker Grant Hamilton was there, camera in hand, to document the death of Polaroid according to the people who loved the technology most, from self-described Polaroid photographers to the security guard from the main plant. Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film not only tells the story of the birth and incredible life of Polaroid. The documentary also tells the story of the film's death and rebirth, through the folks at the Impossible Project who took over a shuttered Polaroid factory and started manufacturing the film again. While Polaroid's tried to sell different digital devices, none of it's quite the same as the original.
After winning a whole bundle of laurels at film festivals around the world, Time Zero is now available online. You should watch it, regardless of whether you're feeling nostalgic about Polaroid's wonder years or just need something to do tonight. The feeling of watching that fog fade and the image emerge is just as incredible today as it was when you were a kid. [Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play]
Images via Grant Hamilton / Time Zero