a bummer

I have become fascinated with the Polaroid film since I first time saw it from a magazine, and I swore to myself that if one day i made my own money i would have one and make one snapshot every day.  Time passed by.  I did made my own money, too little to mention, but I did not buy a Polaroid, even as I spent one hour thinking about buying it in Tokyo this summer.  Today, the Polaroid announced its farewell from the market because of the absolute taking-over by the digital camera.  What pity news!  The meaning of the Polaroid not lies in its precise representation of the objective world, but lies in the very process of making a photo.  The photogram echoes with the construction of memory.  It is the atmosphere, the memory picture that the instant film captures, not the mechanical, external world where the subjective human beings subordinate to the machinery system.  The Polaroid film, a configuration of human memory and unpredictable environment, represents a shape of time which is fundamentally rooted in every historical episode. Unfortunately, like every piece of old-fashion objects, the Polaroid film will disappear soon from the modern, digital world.  And we are still continuing the stupid debate on the effectiveness of the Polaroid film in comparison of digital photos. 

Recently, I have encountered two art historians’ attitudes towards their research object: the Japanese art.  One is to personally admire and to get invovled as deeply as possible; the other one is to rationally criticize and to keep certain distance as objective as possible.  As a beginner, I can go either way.  However, two methods are distinctively different from each other and would effect one’s research style profoundly.  The conservatism in Japanese academia and prejudice on women make the path pretty tough for me, not to mention the increasing current of xenophobia in the contemporary Japan.  I was shocked by the hostile brush fight and conflicting theories held between Japanese and American scholars of the last generation.  The possibility of my career goal is still open to question.  However, in the current state, how to work/cooperate with two different styles gives people a headache, including me. 


About GloriaYuYANG

art historian, writer


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