In addition to the millions of “point and shoot” instant cameras for amateurs, Polaroid made the model 110A. This camera took type 42 black-and-white Polaroid film like the amateur models but had a good-quality compur shutter with shutterspeeds and f-stops. It was perfect for photographers using strobe equipment to make a test picture in order to check the quality of their lighting.
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to the United States in 1973 was a major story and Newsweek had secured two minutes of his time for a cover portrait session. Photographer Fred Ward and his assistant set the strobes. After several admonitions from Soviet and American handlers that they had just two minutes, Ward was ready. Brezhnev walked into the hotel room and Ward posed his subject, then took his Polaroid test camera and made a quick test picture. He handed the Polaroid to his assistant and started making his Newsweek cover portraits. After a minute, the assistant quietly handed the developed Polaroid print back to Ward so he could make a quick light check. Ward saw that Brezhnev was intrigued by their actions. The test portrait of the Soviet leader looked good and Ward handed Brezhnev the Polaroid print. It was clear that Brezhnev had never seen a Polaroid picture and was amazed by the instant-picture technology. A quick thinking Ward reached for the Polaroid camera and presented it to the Soviet leader as a gift. At that point all time limits were off. Brezhnev loved the camera and motioned to his handlers, who were glaring at Ward. A whisper and one was off to another room of the visiting leader’s hotel suite. Ward’s two minutes turned into five and he created a great selection of photographs for Newsweek. The aid hustled back with a little red box and Brezhnev presented it to Ward as his gift of appreciation. The box contained a Soviet-made wrist watch.