Photography giant Polaroid plans to open at least ten new retail stores this year focused on getting people to print and edit the photos saved on their smartphone, or uploaded to social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Picasa.
The first ‘Polaroid Fotobar’ store, which is set to open in Florida next month, will allow in-store customers to wirelessly transmit the images stored on their smartphone or tablet to a bar-top workstation. From here, the photos can be edited to fix red-eye or alter the contrast and brightness. A number of filters will also be available, presumably to help users get that vintage, “analogue feel” if they haven’t done so already using an app such as Snapseed or Instagram.
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Photos can also be uploaded from social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Picasa and “several others”. Although the latter haven’t been revealed by Polaroid yet, we’ve got our fingers crossed for Flickr, Google+ and 500px.
Once the images have been chosen, users can then have the image printed in a number of different materials and substrates including metal, wood and bamboo, as well as choose from various framing options.
The idea is to make the digital and often forgettable images stored on your smartphone feel like works of art again; something which you would want to share with friends or hang in your house or office.
Polaroid CEO and president Scott W. Hardy said:
“Polaroid is about sharing life’s most precious and memorable moments. We have been, and continue to be, about self-expression, creativity and fun. Polaroid Fotobar retail stores represent a perfect modern expression of the values for which we have stood for 75 years.”
Polaroid promises that any ordered prints will be handcrafted and shipped from their manufacturing facility within 72 hours. The store itself will also have a photo gallery of “creative, museum-quality pieces” designed to inspire customers and make them feel like they’re in a real photography studio.
Future Polaroid Fotobar locations include New York, Las Vegas and Boston. The first store on Delray Beach, Florida will also have a multi-purpose room called “The Studio”, which can be used to host classes, private parties and a studio for portrait work. On the shopfront, Polaroid will also have some experienced “Phototenders” to help consumers through the entire ordering process.
It’s an interesting time for Polaroid. While the company’s reputation for instant printing is less prevalent these days, the resurgence of analogue photography – or perhaps more specifically, the analogue aesthetic – has brought them back into relevance.
They also hit the headlines back in May last year when a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, a renowned patent troll, acquired patents covering digital imaging and other related technologies that were originally issued to Polaroid.
Image Credit: Polaroid