Now and then the perfect photo comes along for Throwback Thursday!
The year is 1976. The location is my Polaroid "going away" party in Waltham, Ma and the jacket and tie are UGLY! Whenever you left a job for something else inside or outside the company, your co-workers threw you a party.
Polaroid back in those days was a Fortune 500 company with 20,000+ employees. I was in Customer Service, and at the time our biggest challenge was the defect rate of the SX-70 camera. It was so high, a company launching a product like that today would be out of business in a month!
The first thing that saved the company back then was, there was no Internet. People had no forum to express themselves immediately. The second was an incredible V.P. by the name of Jon Wolbarst. He positioned Customer Service as the conscience of the company. It was our responsibility to make things right, pretty much no matter what the cost or the time it took. The wealth of camera and film problems left us no shortage of challenges to deal with. As an extreme, the company launched roving rep calls.
Late one evening I got a call from my manager telling me to be on a plane to Detroit in the morning to make a house-call. They had an angry customer threatening a class action lawsuit who couldn't get a decent photograph out of her SX-70.
I landed in Detroit, picked up a rental car and drove to her home. The problem was apparent immediately. She was almost blind with the thickest glasses I'd ever seen. Auto-focus wasn't invented yet and the camera had a follow-focus flash system. If you were off on the focus of your subject, the results were either under or over-exposed. The initial fix for the company was a distance scale on the front of the lens so you could estimate your distance as another way to focus.
The picture of me, complete with my GQ wardrobe is another example of the initial limitations of using flash. Captured with an SX70 and a flash-bar, you can see the immediate fall off of light.
Let's get back to why this is a perfect example of a throwback.
I've written a lot suggesting throwback images are perfect for your blog. First, they give you fun content every Thursday to share with your readership. Second, picking old images that show how styles have changed is perfect to help you demonstrate your skill set as a time traveler! For most of you, your target audience is Mom. She needs to be reminded how much the kids are changing and the need to update the family portrait or the importance of capturing more memories.
Third, you can build content in advance. This is the traditional slow season in photography, but that doesn't mean it has to be slow for you! Utilize this time to build a stash of posts, starting with Throwback Thursdays. You don't need to write a lot, just find those old images to share. Then use them to light a fire under your readers to update family portraits. Styles change, we change, and there are very few things in photography more fun than old photographs.
Looking back at old photographs brings back memories and makes us feel nostalgic.
It's a time machine bringing us to the time and places where we can see and feel everything in the details.
P.S. I'm holding a trophy my co-workers created. They took a beyond repair SX-70, mounted it on one of the old fixed focus Polaroid Colorpack camera bodies and then sprayed the whole thing gold. Some time over the last forty years, it sadly didn't survive a move, but the memories sure did!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.