Edwin Land

“A picture is worth a thousand words… and a piece of your soul.”

-Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, circa 1932; After spending a semester in Australia on a “study abroad” program through Harvard, Land became fascinated with the Australian Aborigine’s belief that a photograph could actually steal a portion of a person’s soul.  Secretly, Land took to this belief himself and devoted much of his career to developing his soul stealing technology.  His crowning achievement was the public release of his instant develop Polaroid camera in late 1948 (Land had lobbied to name the camera the “Soul Swapper 5000” but was voted down by the company’s board of directors).  Upon his death in 1991, it is rumored that his personal assistant discovered his “collection of souls”, which consisted of over 5 million Polaroids of complete strangers.  His assistant promptly had them all shredded to avoid Land being dubbed “a real creeper” in the public’s mind. (Fun sub-fact:  Land’s personal assistant was actually a man named Ed Roland, who would later become the leader singer for the band Collective Soul.)

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