A Brief History of the Polaroid Camera

New York magazine editor Christopher Bonanos has written a new book titled Instant: The Story of Polaroid, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of Edwin Land’s revolutionary company. In the video above, Bonanos offers a brief history of Polaroid, including how Land’s ideas inspired entrepreneurs to follow:

[Edwin] Land did no market research. He once said that marketing is what you do if your product is no good. Instead, what he believed was this: you had to show people something they had no idea they wanted, but that was irresistible. To that end, what he would do was turn Polaroid’s annual meeting into sort of a show. He would get up on stage, he would show the new camera, he would demonstrate whatever the new product was, and by the end of the meeting you completely had to have one. You were drawn into Polaroidland.

Remind you of someone? If you’re thinking Steve Jobs, you’re right. The similarities were not a coincidence. As we shared last year, Steve Jobs considered Land his role model, and used many of his ideas in turning Apple into the juggernaut tech company it is today.

  • Dave

    This video loses all credibility when the first statement is wrong. Polaroid was not the only company to make an instant photo. Yes they may have invented it, but they were not the only company to make it. What about Kodak? What about Fuji?

  • Coyote Red

    Same here. I had a Kodak a couple of years before Kodak was successfully sued into dropping out of the instant photo market.

  • RJohnstonAZ

    The Topic, is about Polaroid. If you write about the Ford F150, you do not include information about Chevvy Pickups… Polaroid was the First.

  • ennuipoet

    I caught that as well. The statement is more true of Polaroid FILM rather than Polaroid Cameras. It takes nothing away from the innovation of Dr Land, however.

  • ceebee

    Mo one needs Polaroid as long as Impossible is around.

  • Michael

    Unfortunately they don’t produce any packfilms like the 665.

  • Lance Waterman

    Stefanie Schneider is my favorite Polaroid artist