Now considered a relic from the recent past, the Polaroid is making a comeback on the Las Vegas Strip at the two-story, 8,500-square-foot Polaroid Fotobar and Museum.
Located at The LINQ Promenade, the Polaroid Fotobar and Museum offers you a chance to turn digital photographs into Polaroid replicas and learn a little bit about the history of these revolutionary instant cameras. There are other Fotobars around the nation, but the Vegas location is the company’s flagship and the museum is the first of its kind.
Downstairs at the Fotobar, you can quickly pull photos from your phone, social networks and a variety of other online locales and create custom photo prints that resemble Polaroids with modern-day framing, display and filter options. Prints come in different styles and sizes, and can be printed on multiple mediums such as paper stock, canvas, wood, aluminum and wall decals.
The store sells frames, shadowboxes and magnets for displaying your prints as well as a variety of other camera-related merchandise, including Polaroid film. There are even some photo opportunities within the store, including easy-to-pose-behind life-sized Polaroid frames.
Upstairs at the Polaroid Museum, you can see interactive and educational exhibits showcasing the history of Polaroid and its founder Edward Land, including one of five remaining working 20×24 cameras in existence.
The museum also has rare artifacts, art and advertising from the Polaroid Historical Collection at MIT, such as a Polaroid camera resembling an order of McDonalds french fries. There’s a display of Polaroid cameras from throughout the years as well as compelling artwork collages created with Polaroid photos.
The exhibit “Capturing Celebrity,” presented by the Andy Warhol Museum, features 50 of Warhol’s Polaroid snapshots of the rich and famous, including John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Farrah Fawcett, Giorgio Armani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muhammad Ali. There is also an exhibit of Warhol’s Self-Portrait Wallpaper and Silver Clouds (first exhibited in 1996).
Another interactive component of the museum is a flat screen television featuring real time photos posted to Instagram with the hashtag #fotobar. While this exhibit unifies the history of Polaroid with present day and future photography, another exhibit similarly compares Polaroid Founder Ed Land's influence on Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs. Jobs and Land had several meetings over the years, and Jobs once said he was inspired by Land’s dedication to the marriage of art and technology.
Exhibits will change from time to time to pay tribute to Polaroid's many innovators and enthusiasts.
-- Aleza Freeman