In the history of American photography, Edwin Land's invention of Polaroid film in 1947 stands out as a profound influence on the work of many great photographers. As Polaroid technology evolved and was refined from the 50's to the end of the 20th century (culminating in the astounding 20x24 inch format film camera -- only 6 were built) -- artists, many painters among them, were pushing the film to its limits.
At the same time, photography was beginning to be taken seriously by museums and collectors.
Now there's an opportunity to see the work of some of these photographers together in one show. Their images range from the look of classical painting to the stunningly abstract; from pure documentary to the surreal.
Artists include: Laura Blacklow, Paul Caponigro, Ellen Carey, Bobbi Carri, Marie Cosindas, Alma Davenport, Elsa Dorfman, Olivia Parker, Rosamond Purcell, John Reuter, Jim Stone and Jane Tuckerman
A Sotheby's Encore in Tiverton, RI
Following closely on the record sale of the Polaroid Corporation Collection of photographs at Sotheby's New York, Gallery 4 in Tiverton RI has mounted its own show of classic Polaroid photographs and gone Sotheby's one better: the photographers showed up at Gallery 4's opening. For the first time ever, these legendary artists from the Polaroid era were gathered in one space with their photographs on display.
Bob Smith, one of Gallery 4's partners, got the idea last winter when he read that the Polaroid Photography Collection would be auctioned at Sotheby's. His first thought was "My god, all this history, all those great photos going on the block." (Photos by legends like Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, and on and on -- more than 400 lots).
"There are millions of people with memories etched on Polaroid instant snapshots, and a generation of artists weaned by giantslike Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind and Minor White. This is history, an incredible time capsule".
Smith got to work immediately, contacting anyone he could think of connected to the Polaroid era. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic -- in short order he had put together a group for the show "The Art of Polaroid."
The large crowd gathered at the opening on July 31 was awed to see legends like Marie Cosindas and Elsa Dorfman, artists Olivia Parker, Rosamond Purcell, Laura Blacklow, Jane Tuckerman and Ellen Carey; and John Reuter (indelibly associated with Polaroid's giant 20x24 camera) all exchanging war stories as each photo evoked another memory.
The artists regaled one another with tales of working with Edwin Land, the inventor of Polaroid photography, and a brilliant innovator and perfectionist; and the fun and exhilaration of playing with the new films and emulsions he kept giving them to experiment with.
Nearby, photos of Julia Child, Tennessee Williams, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Walker Evans and Edwin Land mingled with Jim Stone's evocative documentary shots of American folklore, and Paul Caponigro's famous nature photos from the 1960's.
It was a mythical reunion, a piece of history. The only thing missing to document this fleeting event was an SX-70 snapshot.
The ART of POLAROID runs through September 20, 2010.
Gallery 4 is located at 3848 Main Road, Tiverton 4 Corners, RI 02878.
Hours Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5 Tel 401-816-0999. gallery4tiverton.com
For further press information: Bob Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
For photos: email@example.com