Distressing news hit the wires while I was out of town a few weeks ago: Polaroid is discontinuing all instant film production. Perhaps this is the first time an entire art medium has been threatened with complete extinction. The fate of instant film now hinges entirely on the willingness of a small-scale manufacturer to buy the rights to the production processes and faithfully and reliably execute them to the same exacting quality standards as Polaroid.

I am upset about this development.

There is no doubt that the film market has shrunk to a shadow of its former self, but as the AP article above attests, it is far from dead.

I wonder what “brand equity” the investors behind Polaroid hope to harvest from a company that is synonymous with instant film but no longer makes instant film. Imagine, for a moment, if Philip Morris divested itself of the cigarette business and started selling plasma TVs under the Marlboro name.