Jan 21, 2013

universal need

the 37signals blog sometimes throws up real gems. this is a long promotional video for the polaroid SX-70 SLR folding camera, beautifully made by the eames office. in just 10 minutes, the video shows the range of use-cases (close-up to far-away, static and dynamic objects, tight and loose compositions), the immediacy of the photographic act, a detailed explanation of not only the camera mechanism (which includes a camera battery in every pack of film, essentially guaranteeing that the battery never runs out at a critical moment) but also the remarkable built-in 3-colour additive integral instant film system, and a crisp summary of the motivations behind designing the SX-70.

let's hope that it will become commonplace for much time and care to be spent conceiving and building things intended to be consumed slowly and with nuanced appreciation, things that, in use, help us make ourselves better people. this is true not only of the video but of the SX-70 itself, an object designed with the optimistic goal of bringing out the best in its user:

"the user is the final link: the device helps meet the universal need to do things well. it offers as a matter of course a tool for supplying a rich texture to memory. more than that, thoughtful use can help reveal meaning to the flood of images that makes up so much of human life. we hope the user will fully complete the chain, gaining as much fun, as much sense of self, and as clear participation in the stream of human creativity as did edwin land and the team who first made SX-70."

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