On June 17, 1970, Edwin Land patented the first fully-automated pocket camera, the Polaroid SX-70, which was released in 1972.
The SX-70 was collapsable, allowing users to easily slip it into a pocket when not in use. Instant cameras had already been around for a few decades by that time. The first publicly-available version, the Polaroid Model 95, came onto the market in 1948.
With the dawn of technology and the popularity of digital photography, analog dinosaurs like Polaroid instants soon became endangered species in the mass market. Die-hard photographers and nostalgiaphiles still held a special place for Polaroids in their hearts. The imperfect lighting, blurriness, and that classic white border conjured up memories of youth. There is just something magical about the whirring sound the camera makes when it spits out your photo and the anticipation of watching the image develop right before your eyes.
In 2008, Polaroid announced it was shutting down production of instant film, which spawned much sadness and criticism from its analog fans. A year later, it was on its way back.
Here’s how you can get your Polaroid fix today:
- Polaroid 300 – Polaroid came back from the near-ashes. The new model 300 looks more like a toy camera than its early-day predecessor and spits out smaller pictures (about the size of a business card), but you can still get your fix with the same trusty mechanics of the older versions.
- Impossible film – If you still prefer the look and feel of the older models, you may be hard-pressed to find film for them. A little group called Impossible was started with 10 former Polaroid employees and saved the last remaining old-school film production plant from being shut down. They’ve used their knowledge and experience to re-create film compatible with the older models. Hooray!
- The Polaroid Book – A beautiful curation of over 400 photographs is in this 300+ page homage to Polaroid. Perfect for photo junkies.
- Magnetic Polaroid frames – Don’t have an instant camera? Give your digital photos some love with these magnetic frames that dress them up with the iconic white border. They come with a dry-erase marker to write on the tab, just like the real thing.
- iPhone 4 Polaroid skin – Also from the folks at Photojojo, this decal gives your high-tech iPhone the look of a retro wonder.