North Star Camera's

The Polaroid Camera Company

In 1944, Edwin H. Land, while vacationing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, photographed his young daughter who wondered aloud why she couldn’t see her portrait right away. What began with a child’s innocent question resulted in a dramatic advance in photographic science and technology when the instant photographic process was introduced to the Optical Society of America three years later. Creative, innovative thinking made possible what previously had been thought impossible On November 26, 1948, the first instant camera and film were sold to the public at Jordan Marsh department store in Boston, Massachusetts. Fifty years later, Polaroid celebrates the anniversary of one of the greatest advances in photographic technology—a one-step photographic process that produces finished photographs within one minute.

The first instant Polaroid films were Sepia.

Images of friends and family, courtyards and wooded landscapes were captured in soft, earthy hues. Black-and-white films, reusable negatives, color films and electronic imaging capabilities expanded the instant repertoire as the decades passed. The Polaroid spirit of scientific inquiry never diminished as the search for new and evolutionary photographic media continued.

Keeping pace with the scientific spirit was the creative genius of talented artists. Stimulated by each new invention, they sought fresh and unusual ways of expressing their visions on instant film. When Lucas Samaras pushed the dyes of an SX-70 photograph with a blunt stylus to manipulate the original image, he created a minor revolution

Similarly, transferring photographic dyes to watercolor paper or silk fabric rather than to the intended photographic paper created a unique art form that continues to resonate with fine art and commercial photographers alike. The explorations of many fine artists testify to the unlimited creative possibilities of instant photography

Updated July 2000