The inspiration for the Polaroid Camera was a three year old child. It sounds a little perplexing how a toddler could provide inspiration, but it’s true. Without the words of this one young child, the ability to view photos instantly may have been delayed until the advent of the digital camera decades later.
Children today will never understand what it used to be like using cameras. Today they can use a smart phone to snap a picture, review it, and if they like it they can have it seen by their friends, or even the world within mere seconds. If they want a physical print, an instant print kiosk of home printer will have it in their hands minutes. But it wasn’t always that easy or straight forward. In years gone by you had to insert film into a camera and hope that it wasn’t exposed to light, take photos with your fingers crossed they will come out OK, take them to be processed and pick the finished product a week later only to discover they were all out of focus. As frustrating as it was, it worked. And that was the way it was done for decades, until 1947 when the Polaroid camera was invented, and a three year old girl was the inspiration.
When Edwin Herbert Land took a photo of his three year old daughter she wanted to see the picture right there and then. Land had to explain why she couldn’t see it, but used her inquisitive nature as the inspiration to transform photography. He developed a system of one step photography that reproduced the image from the lens directly to a photosensitive surface.
Land first demonstrated his invention of the new Polaroid camera in 1947, and it was offered for sale on November 26th, 1948. It became a hit, especially for budding amateur porn stars or intimate couples. It revolutionized the photography industry and prepared it for the instant digital age that would soon follow a few decades later. But the Polaroid camera invention may never have been without the inspiration of a three year old girl. So pay attention the next time a toddler says something. Their words could very well lead to millions.