"A fascinating tale of rapid rise, catastrophic collapse, and the riveting ride between the two, at once told like never before and strangely familiar in its allegorical quality... brimming with lessons for modern tech mavericks." Brain Pickings"
Instant: The Story of Polaroid clocks in at a slim 192 pages, but it manages to be three books in one: a thoroughly charming, fact-filled stroll through the life and times of Edwin Land and the incredible company he built; a brief, poignant recap of Polaroid's plunge from the heights into not one but two wrenching bankruptcies; and a small but lovely collection of Polaroid images taken by well-known artists. Christopher Bonanos's well-researched and well-written book features a terrific Andy Warhol photo of Liza Minnelli, self-portraits by Chuck Close and Robert Mapplethorpe, and a David Hockney collage, along with photos by Walker Evans, Andre Kertesz, and William Wegman. It also includes several photos by Ansel Adams, who signed on as a $100-a-month Polaroid consultant in 1949, when the company made its first move into photography." Fortune.com"
Edwin Land was one of Steve Jobs's first heroes, and this book shows why. He created a startup in a garage that grew into a company that stood at the intersection of creativity and technology. This is a fascinating saga, both inspiring and cautionary, about innovation and visionary leadership." Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs"
When I was little, long before personal computers, let alone Instagram-enabled digital camera-phones, Arthur C. Clarke wrote that advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. By far the most uncanny, sexy, insanely great piece of technological magic in our household was my parents' Polaroid. Chris Bonanos' smart, thoughtful, charming chronicle of that iconic invention and its remarkable inventor is a delight." Kurt Andersen, author of True Believers and Heyday, host of public radio's Studio 360"
This cultural history of the eccentric camera company-which has fair claim to being the Apple of the '60s-is simultaneously breezy and deeply researched, making it the perfect compulsive reading for design enthusiasts and Instagram addicts alike." Details.com"
Tells the story of the forgotten genius who turned Polaroid into a cultural phenomenon." Washington Post"
Reading Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos rekindled memories of Polaroid cameras for me. And I think it will do the same for legions of others who were also mesmerized back in the day by this cool gizmo, one of America's greatest inventions." San Jose Mercury News"
Christopher Bonanos tells Polaroid's story with fluid, energetic prose that mirrors the thrilling arc of the company's story, twining together technology, fine art, business, design and pop culture into a 175-page powerhouse. Whether you pick it up because you loved your old Polaroid camera or because you want to find out why Steve Jobs modeled Apple after the Polaroid company, you'll be delighted by this pithy snapshot of a true American icon." NPR.org"
A sympathetic and beautifully told history of Polaroid and Edwin Land, the visionary who was the company's founder and presiding genius. It is the rare design-subject book with a truly dramatic arc, and storytelling that lives up to it." Design Observer
Remember Polaroid pictures? Bonanos (senior editor, New York magazine; Gods, Heroes, and Philosophers: A Celebration of All Things Greek) here tells the story of their creator, Edwin Land, and how he built a multibillion-dollar business from those instant photographs. Holder of over 500 patents, Land was the Steve Jobs of his day. A quick and interesting read, this work traces the history of the company, which began in 1932 by manufacturing polarizing film for car headlights and sunglasses. By the mid-1940s, photography was its main business. Unfortunately, things ended badly, with two bankruptcies, the final one in 2009. The company is now trying to reinvent itself, including manufacturing a new line of film that can be used by the famous cameras. The book includes some photos, though not nearly enough. The volume is enhanced by a helpful index and footnotes, but not so many as to be distracting. VERDICT A well-written book that will bring back fond memories of instant photography for many readers. Recommended.—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. of Ohio Libs., Oxford