Featured Friday

You are thinking to yourself. What the hell today is Saturday not Friday. I know that is correct! We are so sorry. We bring you Featured Friday a day late, we needed some time to think about Impossible’s latest announcement. We have mixed feelings, feelings of excitement to see them as focused as ever and feelings of sadness to see long time employees go and everything being based in Berlin. What we hope to see however hard this time may be, is a leaner and better Impossible. One that is able to focus their care in their products and continue building that community that loves them so much. We want to see better films but we do not want to see the heart of Impossible be sacrificed for better products. They must maintain the community they have built and I hope they learn to value the amazing talented people that work for them. We are cautiously excited to see what happens in the future.

Below are our picks for Featured Friday! In America it is the best weekend of all summer, labor day weekend! We hope it is full of awesomeness and lots of instant film! Do not forget to tag us on Twitter and Instagram either by mention or using the best instant film hashtag, #snapitseeit. After the photos, for those of you that didn’t receive the letter from Impossible’s CEO Creed O’Hanlon, we have posted the letter in it’s entirety. For those of you who has a specific feeling about this whole situation, go ahead and use this post’s comment section to vent and we will make sure to send the link with the comments over to Impossible.

By Andrew Bartman

By Ben Innocent

By Ouen

By Meredith Wilson

By Cromwell Shubarth 

By Lisa Tobaz

By Marcelo Yanez

By Rodney Brown 

By Scot Ansano

Dear Impossible Pioneers and Customers,

In just a month from now, Impossible will move from the office and shop space it has occupied for the past four years on Broadway and Canal, in Manhattan, to a new space in Brooklyn. Sadly, we will also say goodbye to around half of Impossible’s current US employees, some of whom have been with the company since its foundation.
 
A smaller team will continue to manage Impossible’s North American customer service, warehousing and fulfillment, as well as camera refurbishment and repair.
 
In recent months, we have sharpened our focus on film research and development, as well as the design and development of a new camera to be launched in 2015. To afford to do so, we have had to re-assess our global presence. In April, this year, we announced the closure of our global Project Spaces, with the exception of Paris. We are also closing our offices in Japan and China.
 
Impossible has a lot of work to do on its core product – analog instant film. And while more people than ever are using Polaroid-format instant photography, driven by the wider availability of refurbished cameras and big strides in the quality of Impossible’s Color and B&W films, we still have some way to go to surpass the beauty, stability and real instantaneity of Polaroid’s original films. 
 
Late last year, we hired Stephen Herchen, the former Chief Technology Officer for Polaroid under Edwin Land, and a co-founder of the US-based Zink Imaging, as Chief Operating Officer. He now oversees film development and production at Impossible’s plants in Monheim, Germany, and Enschede, in The Netherlands.
 
Our largest investment of both time and money has been – and must continue to be – in the development of our faster-processing, next generation films, as well as in the design of new cameras that will sustain the relevance of these films for a new generation of photographers.
 
Impossible is becoming much leaner, but more efficient. We are returning to the basics of a smaller, more communal and manageable scale of a start-up – which, when all is said and done, Impossible still very much is.
 
When Florian ‘Doc’ Kaps and Andre Bosman bought the very last factory in the world manufacturing Polaroid instant film, five years ago, they assumed something of a sacred trust: to create films – and cameras – that would make the late, great Edwin Land proud. A new (and younger) generation of Impossible employees are even more intent on doing just that!
 
If they’re successful, this analog instant medium for which we all share a passion is not only going to survive but thrive for future generations.
 
Kind regards,
Creed O’Hanlon
CEO, Impossible
Berlin, Germany

Comments

  1. Meredith :) says:

    Hey guys thanks so much for the inclusion this week. I’ll be back in a bit with a longer comment once I’ve ordered my thoughts.

  2. (thanks for the feature, your support is appreciated, always!).

    “Heartbroken” is the first word that comes to mind when I read that newsletter, attempting to translate all the corporate-speak for clues about what the future holds. What has meant most to me since I got into instant photography is the community it has built and the people I’ve met on and offline. It provided comfort and an outlet for grief when I lost my mother, and in many ways, helped shape my photographic voice. I understand the need to push a company forward from a niche to commercial market (it does get tiresome, trying to explain that instant film is still available, and that it’s not Polaroid!), but at what cost to the community that has made it what it is? “We want to see better films but we do not want to see the heart of Impossible be sacrificed for better products” – well said, and exactly how I’m feeling too.

  3. Meredith :) says:

    It’s nearly 24 hours since Impossible dropped their newsletter from Creed O’Hanlon into our email boxes and into the wider world and I’ve spent a bit of time cogitating on the announcement. I still have very mixed feelings about it but I’m trying to step back and look at it more objectively. The shock of learning that many of the people we’ve come to know and love will no longer be part of Impossible’s future hit hard and I, for one, am still struggling with that. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

    The decision to reduce the size of their operations worldwide, to effectively take a step backwards must have been difficult. But if I’m totally honest I think it is the right one. For a while it has felt, to me at least, that Impossible has been spreading itself too thinly. That it has lost focus. As saddening as the loss of the spaces is, if pouring more time, money and energy, into R&D is what is needed to keep instant film alive then I support that. I’ve invested the last 4 years of my life into instant photography. I can’t let it go and so this part of his newsletter leaves me hopeful about what the future might bring in terms of film.

    It’s what isn’t said in the letter however and the overall tone that I am struggling with. Apart from the brief mention of the loss of staff in the first paragraph, nowhere, not once does Mr O’Hanlon thank them for the (in some cases years of) hard work, dedication and passion to getting Impossible films to where to where they are today. This was followed with the statement that a “new (and younger) generation…even more intent” on taking up the mantel started by the founders, Kaps and Bosman.

    It may be the reference to “younger” employees was not meant as a slight to the old guard but that is how it was read by a good many if the response on twitter is anything to go by. The “even more intent” comment however just felt dismissive of the efforts of Kaps and Bosman and the team they created to keep instant alive. Whatever the intention, it was badly written and churlish because without these people there would be no Impossible for Mr O’Hanlon to run. Basic PR rules (and even more basic human decency) indicate that a simple thank you to these people should have been amongst the first things written. You don’t kick a man you’ve just fired when he is down.

    There was mention also of a return to a more communal Impossible. Finally. This is something we have been asking for since Mr O’Hanlon came on board. But I think there is an issue of trust here. Can we as a community trust that this will happen? That Impossible will be more open and honest with us going forward? That we can be as open and honest in return? The romantic in me wants to say Yes! The pragmatist is not so sure. Some bridges just can’t be mended. It will be a challenge. So Mr O’Hanlon. Tell me. Are you up for it?

    • thanks for your words meredith, i highly agree. i tend to think positively and i deeply hope that “the romantic in you” ends up being right! that is what i hope and whish for all of us. and i’m very sure we all have to do our part to achieve this.

    • Eva Flaskas says:

      Nicely said Meredith, it makes me wonder though if he couldn’t thank and acknowledge the hard work the employees they are letting go of, how do the view us? I don’t like how they are replacing them with younger people.
      I understand it’s a business, they see a need for the film and the bottom line is that profit motivates them is the reality!

  4. Meredith :) says:

    Me too Ina. Me too.

  5. Edwin Land says:

    Brava Meredith!

    O’Hanlon won’t thank the ex-employees because doing so would give credit to someone
    other than himself or his Berlin “creative geniuses” for Impossible’s early successes and the community as it exists today. Those same geniuses thought that the tawdry photos by Kate Bellm were an ideal representation of the Impossible audience. Have you ever wondered why O’Hanlon refuses to acknowledge the “Time Zero” movie?

    The comment about a more “communal audience” grates because Kaps understood the value of community and those early employees worked tirelessly to maintain and engage that community even when the films available were extremely problematic. It’s easy to say you can about the community when the film is much easier to use and available in a endless variety of “exciting” frame styles.

    O’Hanlon’s small group of sycophantic suck-ups may proclaim he’s “the BEST CEO ever” but
    expecting him to suddenly change his very nature and embrace those qualities he saw as weaknesses in Kaps and his team is as foolish as hoping Fuji will begin the production of FP-3000B film again.

  6. Impossible has yet to respond in a real way to any of the comments and concerns expressed on Twitter – unless you count a small handful of tweets where Mr. O’Hanlon snapped back at unhappy customers expressing their feelings about the “younger” comment in the announcement. They have yet to respond about the concerns re: the tweets that used jokes about the criminally leaked nude photos in Hollywood in an attempt to sell packs of film. They’ve yet to publicly thank any of the hardworking employees who put them on the map…some of whom have now unceremoniously been shown the door. If you truly think they care about our comments, I’m afraid you might be wearing a seriously thick pair of rose-colored glasses.

    I am part of the community that supported Impossible through thick and thin. I have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on their film over the years, only posting the very best shots, never the worst, so that it wouldn’t hurt the company. I’ve refused refunds on bad film so that it wouldn’t hurt the company. I refused to badmouth the film or any of the results in the past…so that it wouldn’t hurt the company. I bought the whole “we’re in this together” thing hook, line, and sinker, because I thought we were. Perhaps that was foolish on my part. It would seem that it almost CERTAINLY was.

    Companies grow and change – it happens. A small, community-supported effort gets bigger and loses some of their grassroots appeal. That happens too. You can handle it correctly, thoughtfully, and with heart, or you can do what we’ve seen here. As for me, I believe in voting with my wallet. People will never, ever be less important than a film to me. ANY film. I happily, gladly, supported the Impossible of the past. This is not that company, and they’ve seen their last dollar from me.

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  1. […] we shared Impossible’s letter about their big changes to their company. You read about it here, along with last weeks featured friday, and feel free to share your opinion. No matter what […]

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