Column: Touching Things

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  1. Snap! Photography and the Culture of Instant Gratification

    Touching Things

    Where industrial and interaction design meet

    A column by Ahmed Riaz
    December 21, 2009

    Most fathers would do anything for their daughters, but Edwin Land took a simple question from his inquisitive child and changed the world of photography forever. “Why can’t I have them right away?” asked the small girl, as her father—a successful chemical scientist—took photographs on a family vacation.

    Why couldn’t she have the photographs right away? Keep in mind the context of the time in which she asked this question. In 1943, photography was the realm of serious professionals and ambitious hobbyists. Photographers needed to learn about chemical reactions to develop film and make prints. While working in a special darkroom, they had to give photos various types of chemical baths and patiently wait for prints to dry. Just the sorts of things small girls are rarely interested in.

    Have the photographs right away? Ridiculous! Incredible! Unfathomable? Or was it? Read More

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