Polaroid Hoping to Stay Relevant with New Camera


Polaroid has been an iconic brand in America for over 75 years; however, the company has been through a lot in the past decade, filing for bankruptcy in 2001, and again in 2008. It is clear that Polaroid has been changing ownership, struggling with identity, and losing relevance in the digital age.

In the press release for a new partnership between Polaroid and Sakar it was said that, “People can expect to see new Polaroid products that will deliver the fun, instant gratification, and value that the brand has long stood.”


Model/Photographer Helena Christensen is a Polaroid advocate.

Former CEO of Polaroid Gary DiCamillo stated in an interview, “It’s amazing, but kids today don’t want hard copy anymore. This was the major mistake we all made.”

The truth is, many people still desire a hard copy of their photographs. Even internationally acclaimed photographer Helena Christensen said, “I still love taking pictures with Polaroid film. For me, it offers the most beautiful way of capturing reality and transferring it onto a flat piece of paper.”

Maybe Polaroid will be able to prove DiCamillo wrong with their new product, The Socialmatic.

The Socialmatic was designed by Antonio De Rosa. He originally imagined it as a real-life Instagram camera. Rosa failed to raise the funds for production himself via Indiegogo, so he turned to Polaroid. After some changes to the original concept, Polaroid decided to bring the Socialmatic to the market.


Will the Socialmatic keep Polaroid relevant?

Soon, Polaroid will return to its roots by debuting this new camera. The Socialmatic has all the allure of vintage Polaroid instant film cameras with the convenience of any smartphone.

The Socialmatic is Android™-based with a 4.5” touchscreen LCD display, a 14 megapixel front lens, a 2 megapixel rear camera, 4GB of internal storage, a Micro SD slot and built in WiFi. But that’s not all. The camera prints the instant  2″x3″ photo on ink-free paper with Zero Ink® Printing technology. ZINK® makes for smudge-proof, waterproof, and tearproof photos. The Socialmatic will be available for $299.

The Socialmatic is a promising product for Polaroid. It has potential to make the products relevant again, while bringing back Polaroid’s original notion of instant-gratification. Hopefully, this camera will be enough to resurrect Polaroid.

Benjamin Mautner – Royal Air Force Recreates D-Day Photos

Last week, Digital Photography Review covered the amazing recreated photos released by the Royal Air Force to commemorate 70 years after the D-Day landings in Normandy. The historic event, which occurred on June 6, 1944,  may bring to mind some imagery and widely published photos, but the Royal Air Force choose to recreate some unexpected scenes. As Digital Photography Review explains, “As naval Benjamin Mautnerforces made landfall, a II (AC) Squadron Mustang took to the sky above, bringing back some of the first images of the landings.” With the goal of mimicking the mission, two Tornado GR4s were sent up but with more sophisticated imaging equipment. The result turns a widely published aerial photograph of the beaches into a detailed view including high definition resolution allowing the viewer to see the finest details, including a tractor with an empty boat trailer.

(Image Source: Royal Air Force)

What’s more, as the Tornado jets flew on their mission, the Royal Air Force made sure to capture video. According to their YouTube, “They are taking images of the beaches with the Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado – or RAPTOR for short, which takes aerial images and can read the time on the face of Big Ben in London from the Isle of Wight. Full motion video is captures by the Litening III Advanced Targeting Pod.”  Of course, the results are incredible putting our capabilities with technology in perspective.

Other images available include the Squadron that flew in the 1944 reconnaissance mission carrying cameras attached to the bottom of the aircraft. Back then, it required 30 sorties to create a wide panoramic image. With the help of today’s camera, only one jet is needed to snap a panoramic.  For a look at the detailed recreations made to commemorate the historic event, head on over to Digital Photography Review and view the slideshow.


Benjamin Mautner – Photography News From Apple, Canon, and Instagram

It’s been an exciting month in the world of photography and B&H Gear News Roundup covered some key announcements that will soon affect shutterbugs all over.

Apple announces iOS 8, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, and more.

On Monday last week, Apple held its annual developers conference in San Francisco, announcing the latest versions of their mobile and desktop operating systems: iOS8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Though it’s yet unclear how the upgrades will affect photography software, we can be sure that some compatibility issues will arise. Hopefully, the industry will deliver for photographers.

Canon teams up with Irista for cloud storage.

Today’s photographers know they have several options available when it comes to cloud storage, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more. Now, as announced this week, Canon will add their name to that list with Irista. Like the other services, Irista backs up photo files offsite in the cloud, allowing access from anywhere, but where it hopes to stand out is in accepting raw files, including raw formats from camera manufactures, and shareability on Facebook and Flickr. Any user can sign up for a free account, which included 10GB of storage. Unfortunately, only European countries can sign up for paid accounts, but this is likely to expand to the U.S. soon.

Instagram debuts creative tools.

Everyone’s favorite popular photo-sharing app has added new tools for editing and manipulating mobile photos. The iOS and Android versions of Instagram have been updated this week to include a new icon, which provides customization on brightness, contrast, warmth, highlights, shadows, saturation, vignette, tilt shift, and sharpen tools. The menu is easy to navigate and definitely brings a much-needed option to phone photographers looking to post the best snapshots.

Benjamin Mautner Princeton – How To Keep Things Interesting When You’re Keeping This Simple

Keeping things simple is rarely as simple as it seems. What counts as minimalism is as subjective as anything else in art. But as a recent article in Digital Photography School suggests, most can agree that spareness is key. Knowing what to leave out of frame is often just as important as what is in frame, but can be a great deal more difficult to learn.Benjamin Mautner Princeton

Because of that fact, DPS put together a few tips for those interested in pursuing the ‘less is more’ approach to their photography.

Focus on Composition

A minimalist approach requires a great deal of creative thought. Making strong decisions about

what would be best left out of frame takes practice. Photographers would do well to learn how to limit distractions by properly placing their subject in camera and not simply editing during post processing. Shooting with a wide aperture will help to isolate your subject from its background.

Texture and Color

Contrasting colors and textures can make for powerful minimalist photographs. Textures should be apparent to the viewer to the point where they can nearly feel it. Photographers should not be afraid to experiment with texture, colors and angles.

Lines and Patterns

Geometric shapes and leading lines can make strong backdrops. Modern architecture provides great examples of line and shape use. The young photographer would do well to study these as way to learn about the power of line.


One misconception about minimalism is that it is austere and only for aesthetes. But a good photographer can identify the human element present in any subject. All of the compositional elements will come into play to define and develop the story.

To read the original article, head over to Digital Photography School.

(Photo credit: © Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)


Benjamin Mautner Princeton-New Malware Uses Images of Cats or Sunsets

Benjamin Mautner PrincetonThe security group Trend Micro has identified a new form of malware that utilizes images of cats or sunsets to target and hack certain bank accounts according to this article. The malware is called TSPY_ZBOT.TFZAH and instead of the malware coming through the images, it uses the photos as a way to mask code that might otherwise be easier to identify. The usual channels of arrival are used by the malware such as through other malware or through visiting an infected site. Once the malware is in place, the image will download without your knowledge. Trend Micro explains: “the user does not even see this particular image, but if someone did happen to see it, it would look like an ordinary photo. We encountered an image of a sunset, but other security researchers reported encountering a cat image. This particular photo appears to have been lifted from popular photo-sharing sites, as it appears in these sites if you search for sunset.”

The malware utilizes steganography to conceal information, which usually regards specific banks the malware is intended to target. Steganography is a way of concealing a message within another message or image. Once the image is downloaded, it waits for the user to visit one of the bank websites. Once this happens, the malware intercepts login information and therefore gains access to the bank account.

The images themselves are popular and widespread images with an indeterminate origin. This makes it easier for them to seem like something you might have actually downloaded before. With the current cat photo craze on the Internet, it is even more likely to just be another cute picture you stumbled upon days or weeks ago. A great way of ensuring this infraction of privacy does not happen to you is to keep track of the images you have downloaded. Do not let any image sit on your computer without knowing why it’s there.

Make-A-Wish Foundation grants your Photographer’s Wish


Kleianne Eubra’s first passion was never photography. Growing up she had a flare for the arts as a singer/songwriter. She was diagnosed at the young age of 18 with myoepithelioma carcinoma, a rare lymphatic disorder. She turned to photography when fatigue would only allow her to pursue that passion.

Make-A-Wish Foundation Logo

Make-A-Wish Foundation Logo

She had to undergo aggressive chemotherapy treatments and surgeries to remove tumors in her lung and skull. The Holy Trinity Catholic high school had to postpone her 12th grade studies for these treatments.

Once her conditions had improved, Eubra was connected to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Northern Alberta. They granted her wish of new camera equipment and training in macro photography. As part of the wish, 38 of her pictures were stretched onto canvas and displayed at the Front Gallery on Jasper Avenue and 123 Street located in downtown Edmonton.

Kleianne’s father was truly moved by the display saying, “You can see the satisfaction in her eyes. Going through the stuff that she was going through before and seeing her today with all this accomplishment, it’s really overwhelming.”

Katie Willis, the communications coordinator with the Make-A-Wish Foundation said that “It is a very unique wish for us, every wish that a child chooses..are all very unique to the child.” Eubra’s wish proved emotional and moving for her, her family as well as Clare McDonald, the outpatient nurse coordinator of the Children’s hospital that treated Eubra throughout the year long battle with the cancer. McDonald said, “She totally inspires me, she’s so brave.”


Remembering Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston

Frances Benjamin Johnston was one of the first American female photographers and photojournalists. She was born 150 years ago on January 15th, 1864. She established herself as a photographer by taking portraits of the political elite in Washington D.C. She was the official photographer for the White House during the Cleveland, Mckinley, Roosevelt, Taft and Harrison administrations.

Frances Benjamin Jonston

Frances Benjamin Jonston

She received her first camera from George Eastman. George Easton created Eastman Kodak cameras and was trained by the director of photography at the Smithsonian Institute, Thomas William Smillie.

Frances began her career as an artist-reporter. She sensed a changing trend in journalistic illustration while working as the Washington correspondent for a New York newspaper. She then decided to turn to photography. In 1897, the Ladies Home Journal published Johnston’s article “What a Woman Can Do With a Camera” which urged women to consider photography as a way to support themselves.

Johnston also photographed events such as world’s fairs and peace-treaty signings. She also to the last photo of President William Mckinley just before his assassination in 1901. She then joined the Photo-Secession in 1904.

During the 1920’s she was increasingly interested in architecture photography. She was one of the first contributors to the Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture. Her photographs are still an important resource for modern historians, architects and conservationists.

Frances Johnston then received four grants from the Carnegie Foundation to document the historic gardens and architecture of the south. She was then made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects in 1945.