Kalanag, Polaroid and the magic of the moment

After more than two years of joint research, I am very happy to report that Jonathan Allen‘s and my article has just been published in the ambitious Cabinet magazine!

In it, we trace the story of a rather fascinating yet mostly overlooked magic trick created in 1948 by German magician Helmut Schreiber (1903-1963), known to the world as ‘Kalanag’ in his time. By secretly employing the brandnew Polaroid Land camera, which was still unknown to the public, he added an extra “kicker” to an already astonishing trick, the Broken and Restored Watch, by handing the helping spectator a souvenir photo that had been taken on stage only a moment ago.

Until now, Kalanag’s pioneering role as a creative Polaroid artist seems to have gone unnoticed amongst historians of both photography and magic. This is even more surprising, as some early programs of his magic revue “Simsalabim” indicate that Kalanag already had a Polaroid camera in secret use several months before its official market launch in the U.S.!

You can read the compelling story for free here.

(1954 Polaroid stage photo, courtesy Reinhard Müller)



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