someday we will be able to compile a thorough history of all the folks
who've contributed to and worked with 20x24. The following is a sliver
of the story.
UPDATE: John Reuter is making a documentary film that will be of interest
to anyone interested in this bit of Photographic History. Find info on
the film here: https://www.facebook.com/camerareadymovie/
The 1970s were a time of rich growth, experimentation, and innovation.
During this decade, Polaroid introduced an improved version of their Polacolor
film (Polacolor II-1975), and began offering instant film for the 8"x10"
These two developments inspired the idea for a very large camera to show
the quality of the new color film. A rough prototype 20"x24"
camera was quickly assembled, followed by another prototype, and finally,
five finished cameras offering the best of everything learned in the design
stages. Polaroid began inviting well known artists/photographers to create
work with the camera. In exchange for studio time and materials, Polaroid
would keep some of the images for the collection. The camera/studio was
also available on a rental basis for commercial assignments.
In 1980 John Reuter became the Technical and Artistic Director of the
20x24 Studio. As an artist himself, John worked closely with the client
artists/photographers to help realize their concepts and ultimately produced
the many bodies of artwork that stood on their own, transcending the novelty
of the camera itself.
In the fall of 1982, the camera was moved to a studio at The School of
the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. In addition to the location change,
a class was created to allow students access to the camera. I first took
that class, then became an assistant in the studio.
With increasing demand for the camera in the commercial world, Reuter
found himself traveling back and forth in rental trucks between Boston
and New York.
In 1986 John Reuter opened the Polaroid 20x24 studio to New York, leaving
the Boston Studio in the care of his first assistant, Ian Churchill. I
continued to assist in the studio until the end of 1988, and I became
Director of the Boston Studio in January of 1989.
In 1997 Calumet Photographic hired me to set up and operate a 20x24 studio
in San Francisco. (with a hybrid camera, assembled from spare parts and
a new Wisner 20x24 field camera front) In 2001 I left Calumet to open
The Polaroid 20x24 Studio West, now housed at LEFT SPACE STUDIO (see the
"links" and "rental" pages) in San Francisco.
From 2001 - 2006 or so Wisner Mfg. offered for sale a Polaroid back and
processor for use with their 20x24 field camera. 20x24 Holdings uses one
of these systems for testing film in their Lab today.
In late 2008, Mammoth Camera Company received a private commission to
build an all-new "all-in-one" 20x24 camera for Polaroid film,
completed and shippedin May 2009.
Summer 2015, Mammoth Camera completed a new
cameras for 20x24 Holdings, and in mid 2016 shipped another new camera
to Germany to launch "20x24 Europe".
Both the New York and San Francisco Studios continue rental operations,
stay tuned as 20x24 Europe comes "online".
Tracy Storer, 2003 updated July/2016