Polaroid shut the doors on its last instant film factory in Enschede in the Netherlands in 2008, leaving fans of the iconic white-framed square photos in the lurch. Enter The Impossible Project, who bought the factory and were intent on not allowing the millions of Polaroid cameras out in the world to be rendered useless forever by producing their own film stock. While the machinery was ready to keep going, Polaroid had kept the secret formula for their instant film emulsion under wraps, meaning The Impossible Project had to (almost) start their quest from scratch.
We recently had the opportunity to visit The Impossible Project factory in all its glory. One-part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and one-part Wes Anderson film, the multistory building is fitted out in a palette of subdued ’70s tones of mustard, pistachio and orange, and while every machine has an intrinsic purpose, it almost looks like it was made purely for aesthetic purposes. Chief Technology Officer Stephen Herchen talked us through what comprises an instant film photograph, boldly stating that it is “the world’s most chemically complex manmade thing,” while we captured the process of what goes on inside the factory.
Now in it’s seventh year, the brand has not only rescued instant film but completely rejuvenated interest in a younger generation. Constantly working on new film formulas, the brand also frequently collaborates with brands and designers including BAPE, NIGO, colette and more. In celebration of International Photography Day today, they’re releasing the Instant Film Starter Pack. Designed for beginners, each set includes three packs of instant color film with detailed steps on taking better photos. The Instant Film Starter Pack is available standalone as a film set, or combined with a Polaroid 600 camera to get you taking shots in no time. Also launched this month is a special film with international non-profit organization Skateistan, which aims to use skateboarding to change kids lives. To find out more and to shop both new releases, head over to The Impossible Project.