If you’re a Polaroid fan like me, you probably have watched the live unveiling of the Grey Label. Besides a Polaroid printer (the GL10) and picture-taking sunglasses (the GL20), they also unveiled a digital Polaroid camera (the GL30).
“I consider myself to be a visionary, not just a songwriter and a singer. I am an artist,” said Lady Gaga, Polaroid’s Creative Director. “I brought my vision and love of fashion, technology and obsession with the future into all of my work with Polaroid.”
• Merges Fashion With Photography: Never before has the world seen fashion, photography and technology come together in one, singular product. • Tells Your Story to the World: Users can instantly capture or upload photos with the built-in camera and then display the images on the glasses’ LCD screens for others to see. • Expresses True Artistry and Originality: Only Lady Gaga could create a hybrid that’s part fashion statement, part revolutionary technology and part tool for self-expression.
The GL20 Camera Glasses will be available later this year, at a price to be announced.
Polaroid, may be more well known for its classic cameras but after assigning Lady Gaga as creative director of its Grey Label you could expect anything. What’s more surprising, is that Lady Gaga may be onto something really innovative. The GL20 glasses consists of a video camera on the bridge and dual LCDs that conceal the eyes of wearer.
A comment from a friend of mine regarding his reaction to the unveiling of the new Grey Label Polaroid products prodded me to check out some of the other feedback online; and let me tell you, a significant chunk of the reaction, especially amongst die-hard fans of Polaroid, is not pretty. One person writes:
Gaga looks like she is dressed for a funeral, which is appropriate since they just killed Polaroid today
But in response, I would like to say the following: I don’t think it was Gaga who killed Polaroid as much as it was the terrible mismanagement executed within Polaroid during the nineties - and even much earlier - that led to its bankruptcy and reemergence. Bloodthirsty Polaroid fans who see Gaga as an unwelcome virus need to put their perspective shades on (not the GL20, don’t worry!) and really see past their inability to see objectively.
Admittedly, I, too, was really disappointed with the Zinc printing paper for the new cameras and printers. After all, is it really that difficult to make Polaroid film? Didn’t someone make it, like, some 70-80 years ago? So much for the reemergence of film, I thought.
But honestly, did you really expect that Polaroid brought Gaga on as creative director so that she could bring back old-school film? Hate to seem patronizing, but… no. Her music, her videos, her performance art, her fashion - hate it or love it, but everything she stands for is the future.
Sunglasses that can take pictures? Art meets fashion and dare I say, a bit futuristic. The GL30? It takes what the Polaroid camera was - a camera that provides instant photos - into the digital age without fully abandoning what it was birthed as. I won’t mention the printer because it’s been done and everyone, including Gaga, knows it. Or they should.
In my humble opinion (and not as a photographer, but a consumer), Polaroid shot its own foot many years ago. They discontinued making their film, which made them such an iconic name, not Gaga. In my opinion, Polaroid was already dead and gone; then, they approached Gaga to resuscitate it and bring it back to life, which I believe it will. Perhaps many of Polaroid’s original fans and consumers may not support the products, viewing them as ‘gaga’, selling out, too digital, whatever; but on the other hand, there will be lots of new consumers as well. I’m not defending Gaga (I’m actually pretty objective when it comes to her music), but as someone who has not followed Polaroid for years and has all 91387 of their cameras, I can see a bit more objectively than the rest of the lot (or so it seems).
I’m not really sure how I want to close this entry, but I think a loud 'SHUT UP’ to all these ignoramuses, including the original poster of the comment above, will serve as a refreshing moment of catharsis for now.
I love critics and we as a society possess a powerful means of critique within a consumerist society: if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. But if you are going to go the extra mile and critique something, take a step back, evaluate the facts of the matter and do try to a bit objective, shall we?
Note: Oh, and I agree with 99% of all the bloggers and critics, that the presentation and demonstrations of the products sucked and were incredibly unpolished and unprofessional.