Harry McCracken over at Technologizer wrote a fascinating piece about Polaroid founder Edwin Land and the history of the SX-70 camera.
“Don’t undertake a project,” an oft-quoted Land maxim goes, “unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” The SX-70 was both.
Did you know that “SX-70″ was actually the codeword used by Land a quarter century before the SX-70 camera for his first instant film camera project? It was his 70th Special eXperiment (Land was a Harvard dropout and prolific inventor, inventing the first synthetic material capable of polarizing light when he was just 19-years-old!)
It’s a pretty lengthy piece, but a must-read for any Polaroid lover.
Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible (via Daring Fireball)
Image credit: SX-70 Family by Brian Warren
One of our readers email in a link to this article found in the September 17, 1984 issue of InfoWorld. We’re not sure what to make of it…
Photographer Laurence Kim wrote an interesting article titled “The Photography Business and the American Dream” in which he takes a look at the economics of doing photography as a career, coming to the conclusion that it’s one of the worst things you can do from a wealth creation standpoint.
I actually can’t think of a worse business than photography. I honestly can’t. In fact, if I were teaching an entrepreneurship class at a business school this would make a great exercise: Have my class think of a business that builds zero equity, had zero scalability and zero barriers to entry. It would be interesting to see if my class could come up with professional wedding/portrait photography. Knowing what makes a bad business would be very helpful in designing a good business.
The bottom line is this: from a wealth-creation standpoint, photography is a lousy career. But you probably already know that.
On the flip side, if you’re toiling as a photographer, you’re likely driven by a love of photography, not a love for money. Kim has some helpful tips for how to do photography as a career while staying smart financially.
Image credit: Money by AMagill
If you’ve been out of the loop when it comes to emergence of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC, AKA EVIL), David Pogue over at the New York Times has an interesting article introducing them:
That’s why, for years, there were two kinds of cameras: pocket models, with tiny sensors that produce blurry or grainy photos in low light and S.L.R. cameras, those big-sensor, big-body, heavy black beasts used by professionals.
In the last couple of years, though, things have changed. There’s a new class of camera whose size (both body and sensor) falls in between those two time-honored extremes. They represent a rethinking of every single design element, a jettisoning of every nonessential component, in pursuit of a tiny, big-sensor camera. Because that, after all, is what the world really wants.
Do you think these cameras are “what the world really wants”?
The Holy Grail: Small Cameras, Big Sensors [NYTimes]
Image credit: Sony NEX-5 w/ Minolta 55mm f/1.7 by pabuk
Here’s a scan of a Mechanix Illustrated magazine article from 1941 teaching readers how to get creative with their prints by creating “Shadowgraphs”, a technique that uses photographs for photograms:
In reprinting your negative with a shadowgraph border, you first insert the negative into the enlarger film carrier and project the image on the easel. With the red safety filter in position, place the printing paper on the easel and lay your shaving props directly on the printing paper, arranging them in neat order around the center of interest. Expose for one-third the normal time after which, without moving the paper, shift the positions of the razor blades slightly, and then expose for the second third of the normal time. The last third of the exposure is given with all the props removed from the paper.
Sadly (not maybe not), in the modern world of photography adding ghostly paper clips and razor blades to photos is no longer in vogue. Check out the full article here with more example photos.