Edwin Land Archives - Blog
Sometimes failure can be a good thing. Sometimes the accidental can be refreshing. Sometimes not planning can create surprising results. Last week I bought a Polaroid OneStep SX-70 camera for $9.99 at a thrift store in Joshua Tree, California. I planned on shooting a great 8-photograph series in the Mojave Desert. I inserted my Impossible Project color film and then chaos ensued.
All 8-photographs exposed themselves and ejected from the faulty camera in 12 seconds. The shutter was apparently stuck and $23.49 worth of film flew out of the Polaroid as I screamed WTF and wildly swung the camera around while pointing it out the window.
My preparations on subject, exposure, composition, focus, lighting and framing were null and void and all I had were 8 shots taken automatically in 12 seconds by a screaming lunatic holding a click crazy camera.
You know what…I really love them. Here are the photographs in chronological order as they came out of the camera:
The takeaway I learned is ALWAYS test your Polaroid camera with an empty film pack as the battery inside the pack is the power source for the camera.
Until next time…
The SX-70 is more than nostalgia. It’s more than a hipster prop.
It’s amazing technology that gave everyone the freedom to create.
It made everyone an artist with a canvas that developed in their hand.
It taught restraint, patience and decision. 10 shots per pack then. 8 now.
An analog paint brush, futuristic tool, game-changer and camera all in one.
In 1972 – Edwin Land created and released the iconic Polaroid SX-70 camera. He claimed 20,000 technological advancements in its design. “The tool for supplying a rich texture for memory…” is what modern architects/designers/filmmakers Charles and Ray Eames said about the Polaroid SX 70 in 1972. They were commissioned by Polaroid to produce an 11-minute film that shared the technical and emotional components to one of the most famous cameras in the history of photography. The film was first shown at a Polaroid shareholders meeting then later used as a sales tool within Polaroid. Legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein wrote the haunting score that merged together the technology and humanity. The film is a fantastic look at how the revolutionary SX-70 works and the creative opportunities it provides its user.