British artist David Hockney created collages of a single scene with hundreds of Polaroids. One of them-"Pearlblossom Highway 11 - 18 April 1986"-is 6.5 feet tall and 9.25 feet long. Another Limey, Gerald Scarfe (the man responsible for those scary illustrations in Pink Floyd's "The Wall") would take Polaroids of politicians and celebrities and then manipulate the image as it developed to create the grotesque caricatures he's famous for. He called them "Paranoids." Even hip R&B band Outkast sang about shaking it like a Polaroid picture in their hit "Hey Ya" as late as 2003, when pixels had already marched into town and given the public digital photography.

So is digital the end of the Polaroid as we know it? The company itself still makes cameras (the One600 Classic costs $59.90 from Amazon), pro photographers still use them for test shots when working with medium- or large-format cameras, and there's a bunch of enthusiasts who have bought some of Polaroid's old equipment to keep the icon alive.

There's a rich, almost otherwordly quality to Polaroid pictures that mere binary language still can't quite replicate. Whole websites are dedicated to them. And there's still something about having a tangible hard copy to look at. How many people print out their digital pics? That might soon change; now the company produces a digital camera with a built-in printer. But it would be unwise to write the Polaroid instant camera's obituary just yet.

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