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In 1948, Polaroid introduced the world to "instant photography." The brainchild of Edwin Land, the Polaroid camera began as a novelty. But convenience soon made the Polaroid a mainstay of the photographic landscape.
But, this month, Polaroid ends the production of its instant film.
Polaroid film was the first one-hour photo lab. Well, to be more accurate, one-minute photo lab. Insurance, law enforcement and other professions all found uses for Polaroid cameras. Consumers, too, appreciated the nearly instant gratification Polaroids provided.
Thanks largely to digital camera technology, Polaroid's version of instant photography has grown quaint. Now you can view your photos in seconds, instead of the Polaroid's "long" wait. You can share multiple copies of your shots for free. And photo albums? Who even remembers what they are these days.
Most of us abandoned our Polaroid cameras years ago. The end of Polaroid's instant film won't have much impact on people who long ago moved on to digital photography. But for those of us who grew up with Polaroid Swingers and SX-70's, there's a sadness in the end of the Polaroid era. It's a little like hearing about the death of a high school friend you haven't seen in years.
Polaroid cameras enjoyed a 60-year run... and that ain't bad for any technology.