The Polaroid SX-70The iPhone Camera of its Day

Produced for only 10 years, the Polaroid SX-70 remains a cult-favorite with photographers and artists to this day. According to a promotional documentary by Charles & Ray Eames (see below), the camera was “a system of novelties.” It was invented in 1972 by a scientist named Edwin Land (a co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation). According to the story, Land invented the camera in response to his daughter questioning why she couldn’t see the pictures he was taking “right now.”

While it was a relatively expensive camera, the Polaroid SX-70 was hugely popular. Many top-tier photographers and artists such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Helmut Newton used the camera extensively. Warhol took tons of Polaroid pics of actors, musicians, artists and athletes. He transposed many of these onto his canvases. Check out Hockney’s composite Polaroids here. And here’s a very short Wired Magazine piece featuring a handful of Warhol’s celebrity Polaroids.

While Polaroid announced in 2008 that it would stop manufacturing all instant film, you needn’t fret. The Impossible Project have picked up the ball and are creating new films that are becoming popular with a new generation of artists. So grab yourself an SX-70 and make some Polaroid art.

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons