23 February 2008

Two Things I Really Don't Get

[1] The interest some folks show in polaroids.
[2] The interest some folks show in "found" photographs.
So that means I really don't get this essay in The Guardian by Geoff Dyer - "Gone in an Instant" - discussing lost/discarded polaroids that have been found and collected together. You can see some of the images, including the one I've lifted for this post, in the accompanying slide show. I know a number of famous, accomplished photographers (e.g., Andre Kertesz, Walker Evans, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, etc.) have monkeyed around with polaroids. The difference between any of that work and the photographs they made using other technologies seems to me massive. Although I wouldn''t go so far as to to say I welcome the impending extinction of polaroid technology, I surely do not regret it.



Blogger Dave said...

My take is that Polaroids have a different color palate than other photo mediums. Many photographers love the almost grainless images also. It is too bad that we have lost so much of the variety of film types- crisp blues from Fuji, deep reds from Kodak. There are some differences between digital sensors but JPGs can be blandly consistent. It feels like the world of photography is becoming less textured.

23 February, 2008 12:10  
Blogger Stan B. said...

This is where it might help if you were a photographer, Jim. And I'm going to limit my comments to those concerning SX-70 Polaroids since several serious photographers have made some very "serious" art with other sized (mostly monochromatic) Polaroid film.

SX-70 film appeals to many photographers since it provides a way of freeing up their usual ways of seeing, shooting and approaching photographs. The very nature of the film is rather quirky and less predictable, and the square format is more democratic in its sense of composition (less formal space to balance and compose within the viewfinder)- even if you shoot with a square format Hasselblad, you're expected to compose and create "serious" images. Yes, Polaroids allow one to have more fun, experiment, capture those moments and experiences you might not with your "serious" camera. They were also harder to reproduce in the predigital era, thus making them rather precious, unique and highly personal. And being small added a "good things come in small packages" allure to them as well. Did I mention that they come out already matted and suitable for framing?

As for "found photos," what's not to capture one's imagination about a recovered object capturing a moment of (someone's) history that was lost, stolen, or forgotten only to be rediscovered as proof, evidence or eternal mystery...

23 February, 2008 13:02  

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