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Thursday, 06 May 2010


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What wonderful news ! The company, Edwin Land, and Polaroid products were not taken seriously by most serious photographers. However, the company is a text book example of an American success. The employees had an almost cult like devotion to Edwin Land and the Polaroid company. Many of the employees were serious photographers and Polaroid employed lots of professional photographers for many projects over the years. Polaroid was a good citizen of the photographic community even though most of it's revenue was from consumer type camera products.

This collection of Polaroid Artifacts at MIT causes much joy for so many.

Two minor tidbits: 1> My friend's dad was a young engineer who worked at Polaroid during WW2. There was a top, TOP secret building on the property--no one knew what went on inside-- which had a sign on it: "SX-70" 2>Dr Land (and presumably his team) designed the cameras that the SR-71 spy plane carried.

It would appear that MIT has Land(ed) an instant collection!

It's very nice that they've donated the implements to an academic institution, but the art they produced is to be sold at auction by PBE corporation with a lot less fanfare: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=a49VdCIF36ZQ

Not only that, but the rights artists were told they had retained when they donated their work to Polaroid were stripped away by the courts. Photographers who donated their work to what was considered an auspicious collection no longer have guaranteed access to their own work or even any part in the profits from the sale of it.

The MIT thing is nice and all, but you'll have to forgive me for being a little bitter. A friend of mine who worked with polaroid film as a medium for decades, and who sent his art to Polaroid with the understanding that it would be preserved rather than sold, will have to to watch some of his best work get sold for pennies on the dollar - none of which he will ever see.

Kodak should do the same for the Kodachrome process. Donate all the emulsion coating and developing equipment to some museum (the George Eastman House or MIT?). Include a big retrospective display of work done on Kodachrome film. Imagine being able to view a working Kodachrome production line and a huge retrospective and then purchasing a roll at the museum gift shop for your personal use.

That's a nice picture, but the really great Polaroids are that nice model in the foreground, still in heavy use in Mexico. Got a couple myself.

John is absolutely right. It took better photos than any of the SX-70s. So is Bryce. It's probably a timely diversion.

after resurrecting a model 100 from a dusty shelf at work, I was hooked. I wonder if anybody will start making the 665 negative packfilm again?

the swinger at the left also looks familiar. I bet there's a big shot in the collection too.

I'm of a mixed bag on collections like these. if they're being preserved as static displays, they'll last a long time, but the joy of these cameras is actually using them.

I wonder when digital ink will give the same fidelity as packfilm...

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