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Fans Bid Farewell to Polaroid Film
Although Polaroid says the film should be available into 2009, this is the final month of its last production year.

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December 8, 2008---Every day for a year, Tacey Willis looked for an eye-catching photo subject -- a ballerina, a rocker dude in a bookstore or three older ladies from the Red Hat Society. She allowed herself one shot each day, with only one piece of instant film.

But halfway through that year, Willis abruptly took the money she'd saved for a down payment on a car and bought every piece of Polaroid film she could find. Why? Because the Polaroid Corp. announced it would stop making instant film. And without it her project, "Day by Day Polaroid," would never be complete.

Sixty years after Polaroid introduced its first instant camera, the company's iconic film is disappearing from stores.

Although Polaroid says the film should be available into 2009, this is the final month of its last production year.

Eclipsed by digital photography, Polaroid's white-bordered prints -- and the anticipation they created as their ghostly images gradually came into view -- will soon be things of the past.

From David Hockney's famous Polaroid art compositions, to the line, "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" from OutKast's hit "Hey Ya!", Polaroid instant film has embedded itself in popular culture.

The public's reaction to Polaroid's announcement reflects that. Blogs lament the loss. Polaroid-fan groups have formed on Facebook. On, a four-pack of 10 exposures is selling for $64 -- nearly $1.60 per photo.

The announcement hit Willis, an artist in Los Angeles, California, especially hard. She began her "Day by Day Polaroid" project in June 2007 and still had four months to finish. "I really freaked out when they came out with the memo," she said.

Her project -- a book manuscript waiting for a publisher -- contains 365 photos accompanied by related songs, movies and quotations. Learn more about Willis' project

So why did she choose Polaroid and not some other type of photo? Willis is simply in love with that little white rectangle.

"It always turns out completely different than it looks in the viewpoint," she said. "At first I felt frustrated. But then, as an artist, it made it more fun. You had to let it go. I like sitting down with each picture. It's like a baby. You put so much art and soul into it."

Willis isn't alone in her devotion. Minneapolis, Minnesota, graphic designer Sean Tubridy founded with some friends he met through a Polaroid Flickr group. The Web site's mission: to persuade another company to produce the instant film.

"For me, watching a Polaroid picture develop is like watching a memory form right before your eyes," Tubridy wrote on his Web site.

"With instant film, you don't get to make the choice of whether or not a picture is 'good enough' to make a print. You can't just hit delete because someone was making a weird face, or the framing wasn't quite right or in some way the image doesn't live up to the unattainable idea of perfection...

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