But on the larger point of the differences between real and imaginary in photographic image making, I do still think there are significant differences between the two methods. Whether any of those differences are important is up to you - and everyone else - to decide.
The Polaroid photograph was present at the moment of realization. It's a real thing. You can hold it in your hands. You can't "hold" a computer data file in your hands.
This physically traceable connection from the photograph back to the original subject - I have been referring to it here as "provenance" - is what has traditionally made real photographs admissable as evidence in a court of law. And gave newspapers and magazines their deep visual impact. Used to be if you saw a photograph of it, you knew it was so.* And so did the jury.
These days the images you see might be so, or they might not be so. Or more ominously, you no longer realize you should even be concerned... **
Again, whether this - or any of the other - distinctions matter to you, only you can decide for yourself. They do matter to me.
"Curmudgeonly ramblings?" Hardly..
* Yes, I realize the arguments regarding darkroom manipulations. But I'm not referring here to the Jerry Uelsmanns of the world. I'm referring to everyday, regular film photographs. The rule, not the exceptions to the rule.
** Very interesting to hear the earlier calls for "photos" of the deceased Bin Laden in order to "prove" it was him and he was indeed dead. This curiosity was a vestigial cultural throwback to the days when photographic provenance was real because the photographs were real. I'm not really sure what a digital image of a deceased Bin Laden would have "proved" in these days of PhotoShop. Remember the fake?