Instant Photography

The American Edwin Herbert Land became involved in the photographic industry when he developed a light-polarizing film in 1932 and began to produce polarizing camera filters from 1935. He founded the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. In 1947, he patented the innovative Polaroid Land camera, which produced instant photographs. The special Polaroid film consists of a sandwich of negative film and positive paper with a thin filling of developer gel encased in a fragile membrane. After exposure, the film pack passes between rollers, rupturing the membrane and dispersing the developer. The Polaroid Land camera marketed in 1948 produced sepia photographs, but a true black-and-white model became available in 1950. By 1952, half a million Polaroid cameras had been sold. In 1959, the developing time was reduced by a ten-fold increase in film speed to 3000 ASA. The first color film Polaroid camera was introduced in 1962, with a developing time of a minute, compared to 10 seconds for black-and-white. The SX-70 color model of 1972 was the first Polaroid camera of the SLR type and the first where the film pack was ejected immediately, before the positive had developed. Early Polaroid cameras had a novelty appeal, but the high price of Polaroid films and the one-off nature of the process (as with daguerreotypes) limited the market potential.