A European businessman has stepped in to save at least one facet of the Polaroid legacy from the jaws of bankruptcy.

Florian Kaps, a 39-year-old Austrian described in some media reports as an “eccentric artist”, has purchased the Polaroid film plant in Enschede, Netherlands, and plans to keep it open — a development that will no doubt be hailed by artistic photographers worldwide who cling to traditional (non-digital) photographic processes.

“The project is more than a business plan. It’s a fight against the idea that everything has to die when it doesn’t create turnover,” Kaps told reporters.

He plans to develop and produce a new brand of instant film for Polaroid cameras with the help of former Polaroid plant staff and technical assistance from Manchester, UK, photo products maker Ilford. The new film will be marketed under Kaps’ own “Impossible” brand and will initially be available in two exposure ranges. Kaps says he also plans to market colour film eventually. The first Impossible black and white film is expected to reach store shelves by this coming December, just as existing stocks of genuine Polaroid film are expected to run out.

Kaps has been at the forefront of a number of other Polaroid-related initiatives in the past five years including founding Polaroid.net, billed as the largest instant photography gallery on the Web, and the first Polaroid-only art gallery, Polanoir in Vienna.

Polaroid Corp announced late last year that it was seeking Chapter 11 proptection from tis creditors while restructuring in an atttempt to avoid closing its door completely.

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