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Sometimes, it behooves one to read things twice in order to get a handle on the subject matter. In this case it is photography. I re-read the wonderful Russell Flinchum’s book Harry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer, The Man In The Brown Suit.

The book was published on the occasion of an exhibition held at the Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Design Museum in 1997 and basically describes the life and work of one of America’s most influential industrial designers of the Mid-Twentieth Century Henri Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss was not a well known name at the time. To insiders he was better known for the many products that found their way into millions of homes. He designed for American companies like General Electric (GE), BELL and JOHN DEERE some real icons of MODERNISM before that word became a household term.

The book also contains the important design development story of the POLAROID CAMERA. One of the greatest photographic inventions of the Twentieth Century and no longer with us. A victim of the ever changing cultural environment we live in today. I read the book before but somehow it did not dawn on me to share some pieces of this little “photo history moment” with you. And how I wished I had bought that clock on the book cover when you could still find it in a thrift store.

Amazing how some great inventions that influence our must have, must do, must see culture to a much greater extent than we might be aware generally do not have a long product life. Who remembers all of these inventions anyway you might ask? In this case, if you used a Polaroid product in the past you surely do remember it. Some great photographers still use their products in the digital age where your precious moments can seem to disappear in the cloud.

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