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By PRISCILLA MALAVET ALVARADO

For Alondra Rivera, a film and photography major student at NYU, taking her instant camera to gatherings always seems to end up in the same way; her friends fighting over who will get the only Instagram-worthy picture she has taken of them.

Not only vinyl and retro brands have made a comeback these days, but instant photography has had a huge response among millennials for its fun vintage style type of photography making the Fujifilm Instax, the top selling camera on Amazon for holiday 2015 and sold 6.5 million units on 2016, according to TIME magazine.

“We like everything vintage, the original stuff,” says Rivera, who has a Polaroid 600 from the 80’s. “It’s a reaction of growing up in a digital world and wanting stuff and memories that are tangible.”

While consumer research for Fujifilm has revealed that consumers indicate they see the Fujifilm Instax as a fun, relaxed way of social communication. Ángelica Romero, a professional photographer and University of Puerto Rico professor argues that the comeback for instant photography is due to the “back-to-basics” cycle, in which we look back and take from a time in history what is useful to us and recycle it. “And what’s more useful than an instant camera that takes a shot and in seconds you get a print picture,” says Romero.

The appeal of the instant camera, Romero says is that it gives you a physical picture to hold. “There’s a special beauty on taking a picture and giving it to someone else the instant you take it. There is an evident intimacy in the action and that’s what differentiates digital from instant photography,” she added.

Behind the satisfaction holding a picture, there’s a certain phycology, and by touching it feelings of attachment may arise increasing the value both economically and emotionally, discussed researchers James R. Wolf, Hal R. Arkes and Waleed A. Muhanna in their research “The power of touch: An examination of the effect of duration of physical contact on the valuation of objects.”

Cameras such as Fujifilm Instax, that regained popularity in 2014 and tops the list on best brand for instant photography, according to Wired, comes in a variety of colors, styles, and price point. For example, the cheapest Instax is the mini 8 that can be bought for $66.15 on Amazon. While, the most expensive is their new model the black Square SQ10 Hybrid Instant Camera that prices for $236.79 and features filters, different exposures, and internal memory according to Fujifilm Global.

For Polaroid, there’s the Classics OneStep 2 comes in the same vintage styled Polaroid had and feature USB-rechargeable battery for $99. But, if you are looking for a more digital take on Polaroid, the brand also offers the Polaroid Snap a more digital take on instant photography. The pocket size camera features a 10 megapixels digital camera, 32 GB storage, sharing options and 2×3 color print in Zink Zero Ink printing technology, that differentiates it from the regular film used in Fujifilm Instax and the Classic OneStep 2.

For Rivera, there’s a certain spark whenever she’s holding an instant picture in her hand because for her it’s a mystery what the photo will reveal and the physicality of it. There’s also nostalgia of holding a piece of paper that will last forever always takes her to the memory of when she was little and her dad bought her, her first Polaroid.

“There’s my personal nostalgia of when I was a kid, however, I feel that millennials carry the nostalgia because of the collective memory we have of instant cameras,” says the film and photography major. “For the collective’s imaginary that’s the past and the now. Like many retro trends, people appropriate a memory that, even though they haven’t lived it, they’ve seen it and that gives them a way of living it.”

In the same way, Alex Guardiola, a drama major student at NYU, has the nostalgia of instant cameras because her mom owned a Polaroid that she used to take pictures of Guardiola when she was a child. She says that she loves the whole idea of owning an instant camera because of the physical picture it produces. “My whole wall in my room is filled top to bottom in Polaroid pictures,” says Guardiola. “Every single picture is unique, there’s no copy of it. Each one is perfectly imperfect, even with my fingerprints on and you can’t have that with digital photography, because you can manipulate the picture you want a thousand times until you get it correct.”

Also, for Guardiola owning an instant camera, in her case, a Fujifilm Instax, is aesthetically pleasing because of its pastel color and small films. She recalled bringing her camera to New York City because all her friends are “hooked” on the trend. “We go out and take amazing pictures together and laugh about it later in the night,” she says. “It brings us together.”

“Instant cameras were a trend many years ago and will always keep being a trend because of its user-friendly approach to baby boomers, millennials and generations to come,” says Romero. “There’s a special beauty on taking a picture and giving it to someone else the instant you take it. There is an evident intimacy in the action and that’s what differentiates digital from instant photography.”

However, when asked about who gets the original picture when they are with their friends, both Guardiola and Rivera said that they keep the pictures themselves because film packs tend to be expensive. “They can be up to eight films in a pack for $18.99 if its Polaroid, and $30 for two packs of 10 films if it’s for the Fujifilm Instax,” says Rivera. “If I take a picture is because I love the moment or the person and I want that for myself, for it to last forever.” Rivera just like Guardiola also frame the pictures on her bedroom wall.