Why Polaroid Inspired Both Steve Jobs and Andy Warhol
Few companies can claim they altered the path of an entire medium but that’s exactly what Polaroid did in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s to photography. Founded by Edwin H. Land in 1937, Polaroid was the Apple of its day and Land, the original Steve Jobs. The idea factory churned out iconic products such as the SX-70, the one-step instant camera that now resides in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City.
In his new book, “Instant: The Story of Polaroid,” Christopher Bonanos of New York chronicles the rise and fall of the company and details how it changed the way we save memories.
What made you want to write a book about Polaroid?
In 1983, when I was 14, I got my first camera, an old one from the ’50s that I bought in a junk shop. I started using it and there is something bewitching and strange about a picture you see right away. I used it on and off through college and beyond. Then in 2008, when Polaroid announced the very end of instant film production, there was a show going on at the Whitney [Museum of American Art] on Robert Mapplethorpe’s Polaroids. I wrote a little story for New York about this sort of moment when the medium was going away but it was also being celebrated in fine arts. I called up a bunch of Polaroid artists, people like Chuck Close who work in Polaroid film, and they were really angry about having this material taken away from them. It led me to discover that there was a Polaroid cult out there of artists, enthusiasts and people who just love this old way of making pictures.