This major business biography of Polaroid and its founder and inventor Edwin Land, covers how the company grew from the initial Polavision prototypes during World War II, to the 1980s landmark patent infringement trial against Kodak that nearly brought the company to its knees.
While so many books on technology look at new advances and digital technologies, The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence looks back at analog technologies that are disappearing, considering their demise and what it says about media history, pop culture, and the nature of nostalgia. From card catalogs and typewriters to stock tickers and cathode ray tubes, contributors examine the legacy of analog technologies, including those, like vinyl records, that may be experiencing a resurgency. Each essay includes a brief history of the technology leading up to its peak, an analysis of the reasons for its decline, and a discussion of its influence on newer technologies.
What makes Polaroid photography stand out? Since its invention by Edwin Land in 1947, how has it crept into our common culture in the ways we witness today? Writing in the context of the two bankruptcies of Polaroid Corporation and the decline and obsolescence of its film, Peter Buse argues that Polaroid photography is distinguished by its process. The fact that, as the "New York Times" put it, the camera does the rest, encouraged distinctive practices by the camera s users, including its most famous use: as a party camera. Polaroid was often dismissed as a toy, but this book takes its status as a toy seriously, considering the way it opened up photographic play while simultaneously lowering its own cultural value. Drawing on unprecedented access to the archives of the Polaroid Corporation, Buse paints Polaroid as an intimate form, where the photographer, photograph, and photographed are in close proximity in time and space. This has profound implications for the photographic practices Polaroid cameras permit and encourage, such as the sexual Polaroid, evidence of which the author pulls from literature, film, and pop culture, or Polaroid as a form of play, a fun technology, an ice breaker that can make things happen. Buse also tells the story of Polaroid s response as a company to developments in digital imaging and its ultimately doomed hard-copy wager in the face of them. Pushing further, he explores the continuities and discontinuities between Polaroid and digital snapshot practices, reflecting on what Polaroid can tell us about digital photography today. "
A thrilling dramatic narrative of the top-secret Cold War-era spy plane operation that transformed the CIA and brought the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the brink of disaster On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union just weeks before a peace summit between the two nations. The CIA concocted a cover story for President Eisenhower to deliver, assuring him that no one could have survived a fall from that altitude. And even if pilot Francis Gary Powers had survived, he had been supplied with a poison pin with which to commit suicide. But against all odds, Powers emerged from the wreckage and was seized by the KGB. He confessed to espionage charges, revealing to the world that Eisenhower had just lied to the American people--and to the Soviet Premier. Infuriated, Nikita Khrushchev slammed the door on a rare opening in Cold War relations. In A Brotherhood of Spies, award-winning journalist Monte Reel reveals how the U-2 spy program, principally devised by four men working in secret, upended the Cold War and carved a new mission for the CIA. This secret fraternity, made up of Edwin Land, best known as the inventor of instant photography and the head of Polaroid Corporation; Kelly Johnson, a hard-charging taskmaster from Lockheed; Richard Bissell, the secretive and ambitious spymaster; and ace Air Force flyer Powers, set out to replace yesterday's fallible human spies with tomorrow's undetectable eye in the sky. Their clandestine successes and all-too-public failures make this brilliantly reported account a true-life thriller with the highest stakes and tragic repercussions.