Before Sexting, There Was Polaroid

By Leslie Horn on at

Long before mobile phones gave us the ability to share pictures with the tap of a button, Polaroid was synonymous with instant photography. In his new book Instant: The Story of Polaroid, Christopher Bonanos explains how that little one step camera paved the way for sexting as we know it:

There are plenty of naughty first-generation Polaroid photos out there to confirm that instant photography's success was at least in part built on adult fun. At the time, "camera club" sessions were a popular fad: afternoons with a hired nude model, allowing amateur shutterbugs a few hours to indulge their artsy-prurient sides. Bettie Page, the 1950s pinup, got her start in these places, and pornography historian Joseph Slade has noted even frontal nudity in her Polaroid photos from these sessions. The Kinsey Institute has many such Polaroid pictures on file, too. By the 1960s, ads were appearing in certain magazines for a woman who would pose for nude Polaroid snapshots for a price.

Next time you send or receive a raunchy picture text, remember to thank Polaroid and its late founder Edwin Land. For more of the story, check out an excerpt from Instant over at The Atlantic. [The Atlantic]