Polaroid, in its time, was what Apple is to ours: the most interesting high tech company on earth. It filled a niche all its own, one that nobody else intruded upon until the very end, and nearly all its brilliance came from the head of its genius founder, a man names Edwin Herbert Land. There are four stories in here: the invention of a one of a kind technology, the creation of a medium that many artists embraced and loved, the story of a pop culture artifact that virtually everyone recognizes and a cautionary business tale about high tech companies that lose their inventive edge. This book tells the remarkable history of Polaroid, which became hugely successful soon after it brought the first instant print camera to market in 1948. Over the next six decades, Polaroid cameras became utterly familiar and they became more functional and more elegant with each new camera model. With the rise of digital cameras, however, the company went bankrupt and in 2008 announced that Polaroid pictures were a thing of the past. A few months later a group of enthusiasts founded the Impossible Project, dedicated to bring back Polaroid film, which returned the product to the market by mid 2010.
Christopher Bonanos is a senior editor at New York magazine, where he manages much of the magazine's culture coverage, especially theatre. He's also written for The New York Times Magazine and Slate, and is the author of Gods, Heroes, and Philosophers: A Celebration of All Things Greek (Kensington Press, 2005).