While on a family vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a father and his three‐year‐old daughter were out for a stroll. While stopping to admire a particularly beautiful landscape, the father took a picture of his little girl against this lovely backdrop. This was long before the days of the smartphone camera. The girl had been told by her father many times that film had to be taken to a special store to be developed and that it would be several days before they could see their photographs. Although she knew this information, she asked the question anyway, as three‐year‐olds are so prone to do, “Why can't we see the picture right now?” Her father patiently offered the explanation yet again, but this time her question settled into his mind in a way it hadn't before… Why can't we see the picture right now?

Later, Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid, would recall that day in 1943 and he would add that “within an hour, the camera, the film, and the physical chemistry became clear.” As an armchair physicist, he worked out in his head a new kind of photography system that would include all of the components of a conventional darkroom in a single handheld device – even before they returned from their walk. He called his patent attorney that same day. There was a certain power in the way in which his daughter asked her question. It caused Land to ask the question of himself, a question he had never really considered before. Questions ...

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