A new book edited by aficionado Florian Kaps explores why the instant camera still holds a special place in people’s hearts

This article titled “Magic in an instant: the afterlife of Polaroid” was written by Kathryn Bromwich, for The Observer on Saturday 29th October 2016 18.00 UTC

Shortly after finishing his PhD on an eight-eyed South American spider in 1998, Florian Kaps turned from one visual system to another. Transferring his expertise from optics to photography, he swapped science for analogue cameras. He started in the field of Lomography, but Polaroids soon became his passion; he fell in love with the white-framed instant photos the first time he used them in 2004, quit his job and became a dealer of Polaroids from around the world. “They really introduced a new way of photography,” he says. “With instant film, every picture is a chemical adventure: the quality is really unpredictable, and they have a very special look and feel.”

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