Behind the Polaroid
A (relatively) new book by Christopher Bonanos explores the life and inventions of Polaroid founder Edwin Land.
On the companion site to the book, Bonanos, an editor at New York Magazine, writes:
Instant: The Story of Polaroid is a book about a very unusual company. In the 1960s and 1970s, Polaroid was what Apple is today: the coolest technology company on earth, the one with irresistible products, the one whose stock kept climbing way past the point of logic. In its heyday, Polaroid was an absolute innovation machine—a scientific think tank that periodically kicked out a fantastically profitable, covetable product. In fact, the late Steve Jobs expressly said that he modeled his company to a great extent after Polaroid.
Instant film should be treasured by everyone!
I have a bookshelf filled with impulse purchases that I never seem to get around to reading. Every time I take a walk by another used bookstore means a swipe of my card and a plan to “read this book by the end of the month.” I rarely succeed. Does anyone in SF want to tackle these with me through an organized book club? It might suck. It might be awesome. I may just not to get any of these, but I’m willing to try.
• Roberto Bolaño’s “2666”
• David Remnick’s “Lenin’s Tomb”
• Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth”
• Aravind Adiga’s “White Tiger”
• Charles C. Mann’s “1491”
I’m not fond of new resolutions, so I’ll just keep going with the one I’ve had for some time now: finish what I start.
These books were already stacked on my bookcase but I moved them closer to my bed for obvious reasons. Most of these I’ve started and have never finished. In the case of “The Beautiful Struggle,” I recently picked it up at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. I’d love to know what you think about any and all of these.
Discourse and debate is another resolution I’m constantly working on.
Our Occupy Wall Street display. Any donations to the People’s Library are 30% off—we’ll hand deliver them wherever they need to go.
McNally Jackson is, and will forever be, my favorite bookstore in the history of ever.
I should have read this in 2009, but better late than never. The purchase of this today was totally influenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
My regular weekend stop. Dog Eared Books: SF, CA.
“It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…
History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.
My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights — or very early mornings — when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour… booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turnoff to take when I got to the other end… but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: no doubt at all about that…
There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda… You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…
And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
"Motherfucker, you got to talk better, you got to talk to the people." -Ron Davis advice to Obama.