snap, snap. snap, snapshot

1961 Ad for speed and simplicity

Toronto. Post World War 2, American photography companies worked hard to capture a segment of the amateur photography market. The most popular strategies were flash (for night and indoor shots), Colour (for realism), fast results (seeing how a shot turned out), and simplicity (ease of use but good results).

In ads, like this one on page 78 in Life magazine’s October 27, 1961 issue, Polaroid chose to emphasize fast results (10 seconds) and simplicity. Skip colour or indoor photos – just look at the speed and simplicity!

I well remember the time. Colour meant slides. Color prints were available but offered very poor resolution compared to slides or B&W shots. Light meters helped a bit but experience was much better. And unless you could do your own processing, results took a week or two.

Today, smartphones and computers make such objectives as speed and simplicity both whimsical and historical. Speaking of which, check out our March 15, 2020 auction for Polaroid gear and other nostalgic photographica.

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