By revamping analog photography, Impossible Project is looking to revolutionise it for the digital generation
You’ve seen something you want to take a photo of and you’re urgently fumbling for your smartphone, right? Well, Impossible Project wants to change that. Their mission is to redesign analog photography for a digital generation (that’s us, by the way). “Real photos don't belong trapped behind a screen. They need to live with us, in our analog world – on our desks, in our albums or under our pillows,” says CEO Oskar Smolokowski. “Saving the film was a way to make this happen, so we were pretty determined to do it.”
The company manufactures instant photographic materials, like analog instant film and refurbished Polaroid cameras along with their own range of analog instant cameras, for example the Instant Lab Universal. Impossible Project dates back to 2008, when the founders bought the last factory that made Polaroid instant film, with the aim to save 200 million Polaroid instant cameras from becoming completely unusable.
Impossible Project has come a long way since then, now a fully-fledged company, it even runs its own magazine. “The magazine is about showing the stories of the people who use our film,” explains Smolokowski. “Their stories are a huge part of what we do, and why we do it.”
Closing the gap between analog and digital photography will not be an easy task. But are there times when the project feels genuinely impossible? “Every day,” says Smolokowski. “At one point, just over a year ago, a supplier of ours stopped making a chemical that was critical for making the film. Our head of R&D and the team managed to invent a new substitute just a few days before it would have completely stopped film production.”