Polaroid: The Magic Material by Florian Kaps


As we are now eight years removed from the end of Polaroid film production we have seen numerous books on the history of the company and its apparently unnecessary demise. Florian “doc” Kaps provides the most personal of these histories as he evolves from a devoted fan of the medium to a savior for the analog movement. “Polaroid, The Magic Material” is liberally illustrated with Kaps’ personal curation of historical, artistic, scientific and the mildly erotic, the most treasured use of Polaroid film. His personal journey through the last years of Polaroid and his increasing involvement in selling the film they no longer seemed to want to sell themselves leads him to the ultimate magic moment: taking over the about to be abandoned Polaroid factory in the Netherlands and audaciously producing a new film with the remnants of the people and materials left behind. This journey is recounted in doc’s unique prose and allows the reader into the world of one company’s decline and another company’s rise. True to Edwin Land’s pronouncement that a project should not be undertaken unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible Florian Kaps redirected the history of instant photography. This book is an entertaining and enlightening recounting of one man’s love affair with the medium.