Polaroid Gets Celebrated in a New Book

Impossible Project-founder Florian Kaps captures the joys of Polaroid

Florian ‘Doc’ Kaps founded The Impossible Project because he wanted to save Polaroid from becoming obsolete. His company produces Polaroid cameras and film.

His book Polaroid: The Magic Material celebrates this photographic medium, from the invention of instant photography by Edwin Land in the 1940s through to Polaroid’s influence on art and culture, its swift demise and recent rebirth.

For Kaps, the story began shortly after finishing his PhD - which was on an eight-legged South American spider - in 1998. He swapped his expertise of optics to photography, pursuing his passion for analogue cameras. He started with Lomography, but fell in love Polaroids in 2004.

Quitting his day job, Kaps became a dealer of Polaroids from around the world. Four years later, Polaroid announced it would stop production as digital cameras and cameraphones were taking over. But Kaps didn’t think the format would lose its appeal, so started the Impossible Project – its name suggesting the impossibility of rescuing this rapidly dating medium.

The project was, against expectations, enormously successful. Sales began in 2010 and by the end of the year it sold had more than 500,000 film packs.

Polaroid: The Magic Material includes more than 250 of Kaps’s favourite Polaroids, providing a visual journey of images taken by ordinary people.

Polaroid: The Magic Material, a book by Polaroid enthusiast Florian Kaps, is out now