I am always pleased when the ‘media’ feature photography as an end in itself. And there is a fair amount on TV and in print, where photography and photographers are the centre of attention. It was particularly pleasing this morning to hear Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program devote a few minutes during peak time to a feature on Edwin Land,. And his invention that changed photography for many… the Polaroid Camera and instant film .

I am not old enough to have been around for its early form when it was introduced in 1948. But like many, those early family memories captured as ‘snaps’ at the time, can become pretty priceless memories as years and decades pass.

The story of ‘Polaroid’ is fascinating, and I was aware of a fair amount, so todays program was a starting point for many aspects about it to come flooding back. Truth is, by the time I became involved in photography, it was so common place it was treated with much familiarity by many. My use was as a pre shoot test device, with medium format cameras using an ‘instant’ back, rather than as an end image in itself. I wish now I had kept many of those shots rather than dispose of them at the time. There was also an ‘instant’ back for the Nikon F3 I used from time to time although the 35m image was for me too small to be always as much use as I would have liked.

And for those who do have instant film images still, including Fuji’s alternative materials (which I and many photographers ended up using by the late 80’s into the 90’s ) from memory, they are in parts of the world now considered as ‘collectable’. That is not a surprise as if you keep anything long enough… So dont get rid of those disk, APS or 35mm images or cameras any time soon, I know there is no value in them second hand generally, but today Polaroid cameras and the results are becoming sought after.

The good news is that many ‘pro’ dealers still stock Fuji materials.

But back to Edwin Land. The idea came from comments his young daughter made while they were out taking pictures. She was impatient to see the results and asked as youngsters do very logically….why cant I see them now? The rest, as they say is history.

Virtually immediate results decades before we all ‘wowed’ at the ‘digital instant’ result.

End. (21/06/10).