The Camera Does the Rest
How Polaroid Changed Photography
Polaroid was often dismissed as a toy, but Buse takes it seriously, showing how it encouraged photographic play as well as new forms of artistic practice. Drawing on unprecedented access to the archives of the Polaroid Corporation, Buse reveals Polaroid as photography at its most intimate, where the photographer, photograph, and subject sit in close proximity in both time and space—making Polaroid not only the perfect party camera but also the tool for frankly salacious pictures taking.
Along the way, Buse tells the story of the Polaroid Corporation and its ultimately doomed hard-copy wager against the rising tide of digital imaging technology. He explores the continuities and the differences between Polaroid and digital, reflecting on what Polaroid can tell us about how we snap photos today. Richly illustrated, The Camera Does the Rest will delight historians, art critics, analog fanatics, photographers, and all those who miss the thrill of waiting to see what develops.
List of Illustrations
1. Just a Toy
2. Intimate, One of a Kind
3. Polaroid and Digital
4. Polaroid Attractions
5. Polaroid Values
6. Just for Snapshots?
"The Camera Does the Rest has a richness of detail and language. Buse turns to myriad unconventional but vivid sources in his effort to resurrect just what it felt like to make, pose for, and view Polaroid images. This experience of instant photography is his true focus, and he addresses it from multiple, new, persuasive perspectives. In so doing, he makes the magic of the Polaroid moment vivid for those readers for whom that era is now a faint memory and for those readers too young to have experienced it. To my knowledge, the book has no peers in evoking the lost moments of Polaroid photography. While this alone makes it a mighty contribution to the study of visual culture, I would suggest that, in addition, the archeological approach Buse takes to his topic serves as an excellent model for scholars seeking in its archaeological approach, how to recuperate the novelty experienced when now familiar technologies were once new."