In an age where instant photography means whipping out a smartphone and immediately sharing the digital image with friends online, a boxy camera that produces self-developing prints seems like a huge backward step. But that’s exactly what instant film cameras provide, and a revamped Polaroid has announced a new model called the Now.
The Polaroid Corporation was founded by Edwin Land in 1937, a company that originally sold polarized sunglasses. But Land went on to develop a “magic camera” that produced instant prints, which was described in a 1973 issue of Popular Science as “perhaps the most fiendishly clever invention in the history of photography.”
The author wrote that he impressed his friends with a camera called the SX-70, where he framed the shot, pressed the shutter release and a plastic card popped out the front. Seconds later an image started to appear, which developed into a full color photograph. Such instant cameras were a worldwide success, but technology moves ever onward and the company eventually went bankrupt in 2001.