Blast from the past: A look inside Polaroid’s SX-70 instant film camera

Gannon Burgett

In 1972, Polaroid shared with the world its latest creation — the Polaroid SX–70 instant film camera. Designed by Polaroid co-founder and inventor Edwin Land, the SX–70 at that time received quite the introduction with a wonderfully produced video created by none other than Charles and Ray Eames.

At roughly eleven minutes long, the film breaks down every detail of the camera, using footage and animated graphics to show how the iconic single lens reflex Land camera was meant to be used.

Related: Farewell to a photography giant: Studio to stop producing huge Polaroid 20×24 film

Unlike the vague teaser videos we’re used to seeing nowadays for products, this commissioned video breaks down everything the SX–70 is capable of and does so with impressive video production values that echoes the mid-century aesthetic associated with Charles and Ray Eames.

Polaroid_2
Polaroid_2

From the simple steps it takes to open the camera to the ingenious design that enabled it to collapse down into the size of a few deck of cards, the video manages to simplify the impressive engineering feats that made instant images possible.

The film was originally shown at a Polaroid stockholders meeting and later used as a marketing tool. It was the first of four films Charles and Ray Eames made in collaboration with Polaroid and it went on to win a Bronze Plaque at the Columbus International Film Festival in 1975.

As brilliant as the film is, it now only serves as a sad reminder of what once was. Once on the bleeding edge of photographic technology, Polaroid has now been turned into little more than a name and logo that anyone can slap on a product if they’re willing to shell out enough money in hopes of making a little profit off a brand name that has long since left its glory days behind.