The Polaroid camera, invented by Edwin Land in 1947, was a breakthrough in photography. Previously, photographers had to remove the film from the camera and reveal it in a dark room to produce usable images, a long and tedious process that exposed the developer to a large amount of chemicals. The Polaroid process, however, allows the user to take a photo and keep the photo fully revealed in their hands in a matter of seconds, and Land’s self-portrait on February 21, 1947, at the meeting of the American Optical Society called the international attention The ease of use of the Polaroid camera became popular among families and many professionals took advantage of the ability to produce photographs at times instead of hours.
Despite early technical problems, the line of Polaroid cameras proved to be very popular. The black and white units sold well until the launch of the first instant color camera in 1963, when the company began to maintain a line of cheaper black and white cameras aimed at younger photographers. In 1966, the company produced a system that could pair snapshots with automatic lamination to produce identification cards. In 1970, the company’s sales exceeded US $ 500 million.
In 1972, Land produced a new color camera that would become an icon with the name of Polaroid. Unlike previous models, which required manual handling of the film, the SX-70 offered a motorized internal film cartridge that handled the development process automatically, ejecting a blank slide that gradually faded into the final image. Sales continued to grow, but the expenses of research and development of this new camera, as well as failed companies in instant film for film cameras and medical images, over time began to take its toll on the company.
The digital boom
Although Polaroid continued to make instant cameras in the 21st century, the rise of digital photography ate the company’s market share. The company moved to the digital realm and discontinued its line of instant film cameras in the mid-2000s. In 2011, however, the company introduced the Polaroid 300 instant film camera, geared towards the nostalgia market, as well as to first-time camera users