NORFOLK, Va. — Before digital cameras and camera phones, there was a photography experience that took over the world.
Considered the original Steve Jobs, Edwin Land made Polaroid a household name in the late 1970s.
The Polaroid camera allowed people to snap and print pictures instantly without any of the hassle of traditional film.
It was used by just about everyone, including big-name celebrities like Andy Warhol.
At the time, we didn't know it but Polaroids were our non-digital version of social media. We passed them around with friends and hung them up on our walls. They connected us in a unique way.
But at the turn of the century, the company started its decline, going bankrupt and then stopping production of the instant camera by 2007. No coincidence, it was the same year Apple's iPhone was first released.
But after more than a decade of taking digital, easily shareable pictures, Polaroid has made its return.
The one-off photos, believed to be the company’s downfall, have become one of its biggest strengths.
Unlike digital photos that can be shared whenever, wherever, there's an authenticity that can only come from shooting, waiting, and holding a cherished memory in your hands.
That's why Polaroid cameras are gaining popularity again, with the company releasing its first instant film camera in years with the Polaroid name back in 2020.
For some, it’s nostalgia marketing that brought it back, but for others, who weren't even alive when Polaroid was popular, it’s an undeniable testament to the product, and experience, itself.
Polaroid may not be the powerhouse it once was, but it's hard to argue the company didn't change photography forever.