If you're old like me, you remember when the instant camera was first introduced, and you probably recall standing around the still-developing picture as it went from nothing to something.
Out of a chemical fog came blurry images that slowly gained depth and clarity as the photo developed before our very eyes. Impressive stuff.
Polaroid, the company that delivered this technology to the world, has now come full circle, and is slowing, publicly fading away. The company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Like the flash powder used to generate the bright light needed for 19th century cameras, Polaroid has succumbed to newer technology that has made film and photo paper the dinosaurs of modern photography.
Digital has dominated, and with Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, and loads of other online photo sharing avenues available, fewer people are printing pictures, and the need to order duplicates or triplicates when prints are made has almost evaporated.
In all fairness, it's not that Polaroid has maintained a horse & buggy approach to photography as much as they were complicit in their own suicide - slow to recognize the technological horizon, plodding in their adaptation, and reliant on external factors to help determine the quality of their product.
Sort of like the original Polaroid picture.