Thursday, June 5, 2014

BOOK NOTE: "The Gee Whiz invention of the 1940's" ...

Who doesn't love the Polaroid camera?

Instant: The Story of Polaroid 
Princeton Architectural Press, hard cover, 192 pages, 100 color illustrations, $24.95

Merging user-friendly technology with pop culture, the Polaroid camera was a phenomenon of its time that retains iconic status today, sixty years after its debut in the marketplace. Christopher Bonanos’ bright and breezy book Instant chronicles the story of Edwin Land, a passionate and resolute visionary who created the first camera capable of producing prints in a minute, while delighted photographers and onlookers could watch images magically appear “out of a green-gray mist”. Land started Polaroid in a garage, in 1937; it eventually became a billion-dollar enterprise. Sound familiar? (In fact, Land was one of Apple founder Steve Jobs' first business and design heroes.) With its appeal to fine artists such as Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol, technology enthusiasts and doting parents, the “gee whiz invention of the 1940s” – despite now being supplanted by the digital camera – “still exerts a weird and bewitching pull.”

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