I got an email last week from Polaroid of all things. Polaroid was a company that had in all ways died.

But it’s back selling film — even refurbished cameras. You can even order some 8×10″ film, amazingly enough. It doesn’t hold a candle to 20×24″ Polaroids, but 8×10 is still pretty legit.

It’s stupid expensive. $18.99 for 8 shots. It sounds expensive, and it is… but Polaroid has always been expensive as well.

But it’s also magic.

The chemistry behind how they self-develop is amazing. You first take the picture, of course, and the picture ejects out of the camera. In the process of sliding out the developer which is in the thick edge gets smeared over the print. The instant the developer hits the emulsion it makes it not-light-sensitive. From there the chemicals do the full job of developing and fixing the photo. Finally the fixer clears the opaque layer created to block the light as the picture ejected.

It’s amazing it works — and has worked for 70 years.