Visiting the Impossible Project Studio in New York

The Impossible Project Studio NYC (from their website

The Impossible Project Studio NYC (from their website

Analogue Hipster. Low fi junky.

Every smart phone can now take crazy good pictures. So the natural thing is to make to take these sharp, detailed images, and strip out some of the quality to make them look like they were taken using a crappy analogue toy camera or polaroid.

Funnily enough, the result is generally more aesthetically pleasing than the jpeg file straight out of the phone. A counter point to the obsession with megapixels, terabytes, and megahertz. I love browsing through the Officeworks catalogue and marvel at how cheap a TB of storage and imagine all the wonderful backups I could put on it.

So, now we have free apps for your phone to replicate 70’s analogue technology. Yep, makes sense (non-ironic tone please! my opinion of these apps is actually very positive!).

Technology continues to change rapidly. Moore’s Law applies in different ways to just about anything that plugs into a power socket. Vinyl, 8 Track, Cassette, Minidisc, CD, MP3 – everything just keeps moving onwards.

The Polaroid Camera was a technological marvel when introduced, and had an exciting life. But it’s time had come and gone.

Like most gadgets that have been leapfrogged, Polaroid stopped making film for their cameras about 4 years or so ago. I can remember the rush for some Polaroid lovers to stockpile what they could afford – it has always been about a buck a shot.

I was looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon to hold off the jet lag from my flight for as long as possible… With a sleep deprivation hang over, I googled “camera stores” around Soho, as I had to pick up a memory card. Ay yi yi – The Impossible Project studio came up – and it was just around the corner! These were the guys that managed to get Polaroid film up and into production again.


Just another doorway on a street busy with out of towners shopping like crazy. I realised I had walked past it without having any idea earlier that morning, and on my last trip to NYC as well. This time, with a hand drawn map (to avoid looking like a tourist / mark for the hop on hop off buss shills with the city grid map) I found it after a 10 minute walk.

When I went to enter, I virtually had to push my way past a family taking a break from consuming, resting up on the doorway. Whilst I am a great supporter of buying goods and services that can make your life happier, it was a bit of an obstacle for me on this occasion. Yes, we are all part of the 99%…

The elevator did not disappoint – it was slow and was 70’s clunky like it should be. The studio was like a little club. One of the team was doing some framing on a table, whilst another casually strolled around, offering in a very non-salesy way any help I might need.

Another camera would probably be superfluous to my current needs, according to my wife… But some of those old-skooly land cameras looked quite compatible with my arty lifestyle.

Waiting for the Lazarus treatment

Waiting for the Lazarus treatment

The gallery was of a high quality and worth a look for its’ own sake. Instant cameras are not really my thing, so I passed on investing in new gear – I did look very carefully at a genuine replica Polaroid staff tracky top, but they were only in impossibly hipster thin sizes.

You can check out the NYC store here :


  1. Film Never Die – Melbourne’s Polaroid Heart | Inconspicuosity - March 7, 2015

    […] : I was lucky enough to visit The Impossible Project HQ in New York on a work trip last year. You can read about it more here. The Impossible story is a fantastic example of people having a dream and bringing it to the […]


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