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Impossible Project Space NYC

While Googling around I found a really unusual store/photo gallery devoted to the Polaroid camera and instant and analog photography. I didn’t think you could buy Polaroid cameras or film anymore, but this place called, The Impossible Project Space NYC not only sells Polaroid cameras and film, they have photo exhibitions as well. You can read the timeline of how The Impossible Project came to be right here. The current exhibition at the space is called, “Work In Progress” and features the work of 13 photographers. I thought we’d check out both the exhibit and The Impossible Project Space NYC today. Lights, camera...cameras!

Here we are at 425 Broadway home of...

Impossible Project Space NYC. It's up on the fifth floor, let's buzz the buzzer and go on up.

It's a tiny elevator that takes you up and is the slowest moving elevator I've ever been on. It actually stopped for about 39 seconds on the third floor and I had a mini anxiety attack thinking it was stuck, luckily it started chugging it's way up to the fifth floor and the doors opened up.

And here we are! It's a really nice open, arty space in here.

This is the exhibit that's being shown till May 8th. It's called "Work in Progress" and features these photographers. Let's go have a look.

Here's the exhibit that covers the majority of this wall.

Without even trying, this turned out to be a somewhat obligatory mirror shot along with these two very cool photos.

A shot of a taxi and the other three remind me of a classic shot of light coming in to Grand Central Station, but it appears to be a different location.

This is a great photo exhibition of instant photography, if you're in the area you should stop by and check it out.

Turntables are set up in the back playing music softly. It only makes sense that turntables and vinyl records are part of the ambiance of this space.

I love this wall of cameras!

If they could talk, they'd be cursing out the digital camera I'm taking this photo with.

Let's take a look in the glass counters lining the other side of the space.

Check out the flashcubes in the middle, I haven't seen them in decades!

The film for the cameras they sell is still made in the Netherlands, where the old Polaroid film was made. You can read about this new generation of film here.

Check out these blasts from the past: McDonald's and Barbie Polaroid cameras!

A coffee table book about Polaroid and instant photography called, "From Polaroid To Impossible," by Hatje Cantz.

Impossible t-shirts, buttons and prints are for sale in this case.

Here's a Polaroid One Step 600 camera. I had one of those years ago.

Kyle showed me the camera and was helpful in showing me how it worked. It had been so long I had forgotten. The price was right, so I was sold. Back to the past for me!

I thought it only fitting that the first shot I took was of the Impossible Space. In the old days you would shake the photo til it would dry and the image would start to appear. I started to do this and then Kyle informed me that with the new film you need to shield it from the light and try not to move it at all for a few minutes. So this one is a little fuzzy. One feature I've always loved is that you can write at the bottom of them!

I took this on my way home at the Farmer's Market in Union Square. I love how it looks like it's 1977 in the photo!

This was a lit-up sign on 16th street, another shot on my way home.

And I used a flash on this Polaroid portrait of Gumby. This film is expensive,  so don't expect a ton of Polaroids here, but it will be fun to incorporate some Polaroid instant photography now and again on TWM. Thanks to Kyle and everyone at Impossible Project Space for their help and hospitality!

Impossible Project Space NYC
425 Broadway—5th floor

Further Reading: npr, Monocle and Mother Board.

If only I'd thought of the right words,
I wouldn't be breaking apart,
All my pictures of you.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!


Bonus Please Kill Me Linkage!

One of my favorite books of all time is the definitive oral history of punk rock, Please Kill Me, written by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. For years I've wondered why there isn't a website devoted to the book and the authors and now there is one! Check it out here: Please Kill Me. There's an interview with Danny Fields, photos of a Ramones museum, Legs remembers Malcolm McLaren and tons of other cool stuff. Go check it out!

Reader Comments (30)

I'm feeling real old now :(

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

what a cool place! love your polaroid photos, they look like they were taken years ago! and thanks for the link to the please kill me site, one of my favorite books of all time!!

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D.

That place looks so awesome. I must get there.

It's funny how the film is super expensive now because back then it was a cheaper alternative to getting a roll of film developed.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I never thought I'd go digital til my husband bought me a digital camera for Christmas in 2009, and I must admit it's fun. I used to carry a disposable Fuji (my personal fave) with me at all times to take random shots, and thanks to this post, may start doing so again - if they still exist.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatrink

@GENE: If you're feeling old, imagine how I feel!

@Bobby D: Glad you liked the Polaroids! I love Please Kill Me and interviewed Legs and Gillian after it came out, one of the highlights of my writing career!

@Jason: You should definitely go, it's a real cool place and the exhibit is filled with wonderful photos.

@Katrink: They have cameras and film that you can buy online at their site, check it out!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I was knee high to a turnip the last time I remember swiping that evil smelling preservative gunk on the black and white photos from my very first black and white polaroid camera...

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

This place is a gem.

Thanks for including The Cure ... now the office across the hall wants to know why I just yelled "Boris!!!!" at the top of my lungs (the drummer during this era of The Cure)

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterroadsidewonders

This is my kind of candy store!
I'd go nuts in here...
I used to drive everyone in my family nuts with cameras. and the poloraid in particular..the shots of legs and feet. random body parts.. things i thought were "art"
no wonder they were so willing to buy me my first 35 when i was 14.. they wanted me to have to wait to see my results so i'd slow down a bit.
i've actually been wanting to revisit the polaroid...
might be a fun little hobby.. then me and you can can compare notes!

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

Polaroid is quickly becoming a unique archaic term. No one has them anymore, soon no one will even remember them, but every one will know what you are referring to. (In other words, the term will become akin to snapshot.) Sort of like when a child hands you the remote when you ask for the TV clicker or how we still say "roll down the car windows". Science and technology advance, humans, not so much.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@Jaws: I remember being so excited when I first saw a Polaroid camera and that feeling came back yesterday! The new film isn't nearly as gunky!

@roadsidewonders: A true gem indeed! Too funny about you yelling, "Boris!" For split second I thought you were talking about our ”Boris!”

@Gidget: Between yesterday's candy store and today's trip to Impossible Space, I've had a flood of memories! Start Polaroiding and we'll compare notes and photos!

@csp: Nice observation!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Marty, Great space, love the polaroid Gallery shot. Your 1st polaroid shot is amazing, look's like you used Photoshop filters on it. Before digital, Polaroid's were the only way to take drunken naked shots of my girlfriend's.
If I used a film camera they would always run away & say the guy at the Fotomat is gonna see it when he develops the film. Hehe
My Dad had an amazing oldschool polaroid camera with the accordion extender. I remember him rubbing this chapstick thing on the film before he peeled it open.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny the freelancer

This place looks cool - I'll have to check it out. Thanks for scouting it!

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGoggla

Wow, the photos you took with the polaroid look cool. They seem to have a great warmth to them. Kind of like vinal records vs. an iTunes download.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermattyanza

@Danny the Freelancer: I worked at a drug store all through high school and the highlight of the day was when the photos would come in from the development place. There'd be naked girlfriend shots, people snorting coke and all kinds of stuff. People would always sheepishly come and get them, knowing that we had seen them! I remember those accordion extenders, I didn't see any in there yesterday, but I bet they have them.

@Goggla: Check it out for sure, you'll love it!

@mattyanza: Thanks! Polaroid photos always have more personality than any other kind of photos!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Remember the old "Polaroid Swinger" commercial? Swing it up, it says YES, take the shot, count it down, zip it off,,,,. It was a very catchy tune to a "groovy" camera and only $19.95. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7k2uwJmwxo

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl


April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

A friend of mine used to take polaroids and while they developed, "draw" on them with a sharp edge to manipulate the chemicals and create funky visual effects.
This guy's work is an excellent example.

PS - Thanks for playing my fave Cure song!

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpike

Love Polaroids! And besides tulips, cheese, wooden shoes, pot and red lights..we have Polaroid film! lol nice! I posted this link of some Andy Warhol snapshots! http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/jock-art-andy-warhol-polaroids/

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuben Dutch

@Al: Ha ha ha! I forgot all about that ad, that brings back memories! I think I had one of those. Thanks for the link!

@Meleah: That it is!

@Spike: I used to draw on Polaroids too, but not as well as that guy! Glad to have chosen your favorite Cure song, it seemed to fit the post!

@Ruben Dutch: You should go work there! Thanks for that Andy Warhol link, very cool!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

That Polaroid swinger commercial had a very catchy tune. Barry Manilow was the singer, and you can see Marcia Strassman and Ali McGraw in the commercial.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Hunt

@Mike Hunt: Ha! Excellent catches! I forgot that Barry Manilow used to do commercial jingles! You're right, that is him! And you caught both Marcia Strassman and Ali McGraw! Nice work eagle-eyes! I love the top comment over there: "this is one of the weirdest things i've ever masturbated to." Ha ha ha!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I used to have one of those! I also had one of those cameras that was flat and horizontal and you had to put the flash on top of a little attachable tower thingy. Very cool post! I definitely have to check out the Impossible Project Space next time I'm in town. Agenda No. 4,532,001.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Biff: And the list grows on! It reminds me to get a Mega Millions ticket tomorrow!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Hey, Marty, thanks for this one. I have my Dad's SX-70 from the 70s, when I was in college. Always meant to get some film and see if it still works properly, now I know where to get it!

The candy shop post was superb, too. Yet another staple that's all but disappeared these days. Have to pay them a visit, too!

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdark1p

@dark1p: They have film for SX-70's, stop on by and glad you liked the candy shop post! There's still some cool stuff left here in NYC in between the 7-Eleven's and Subway shops!

April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Nice report! I love that Union Square shot - the look is great.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

A great post today Daddio!
I could spend hours/days in places like that.
(and probably take out another mortgage)
Nice 'work'!

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@onemorefoldedsunset: Thanks, I was happy with that shot too! Love the old time feel of a Polaroid shot!

@"Boris:" Thanks, Daddio! Yeah, I had to get out of their before I blew any more dough!

April 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I love it. Cool place, cool photos you took. The only baby pic I have is a polaroid. Unfortunately in high school I decided I should keep it in my wallet, it hasn't held up well. My little sister only shoots with film and I admire that, but love that I can take 200 pictures of something to maybe get one good shot. You have to be more committed with that camera.

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkari

@kari: I hear you about taking tons of shots for one good one! I take hundreds every night and sometmies the best is only okay. I'd go broke doing this on a Polaroid!

April 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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