Polaroid plans stores to turn your photos into art

Polaroid – which in the era of the smartphone camera has been struggling to survive for some time now – is aiming to persuade customers that the proper place for photographs is on the wall.

It’s opening a series of stores aimed at helping people manipulate and print their pictures as what it calls ‘museum-quality’ art.

“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” says Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar.

“Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”

The company’s planning at least ten stores for this year, with the first to open nextt month in Delray Beach, Florida. Others include New York, Las Vegas and Boston.

Proprietary technology will allow customers to choose a picture from their phones and wirelessly transmit them to one of the store’s bar-top workstations. It can also be used to upload pictures from Facebook, Instagram, Picasa and other social sites.

The photos can then be enhanced through improved contrast, red-eye correction, brightness, filters and the like.

Finally, there’ll be a choice of media, frames and so on – customers can even print their pictures on bamboo, says Polaroid – with the finished version shipped within 72 hours.

With the Genius name taken, Polaroid is planning to staff the stores with ‘Phototenders’, and is clearly hoping to take a leaf out of Apple’s book.

“Polaroid Fotobar store creators envision the stores becoming a recreational and entertainment destination in addition to a place to shop,” the company says.