photography


Readers’ Photos: Polaroid Gallery – Lens Blog – NYTimes.com

At first, we were merely amazed. Hundreds of readers answered our request on Tuesday for their Polaroid photographs, in response to an article in The Times about efforts afoot in the Netherlands to reinvent instant film. By the time we closed the submission gates on Thursday morning, 932 of your pictures had arrived.

A while back I bemoaned the loss of Polaroid film. Here’s a site with a great response.

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Steichen, Sold on The Celebrity Aesthetic – washingtonpost.com

The link is for a review of our recently opened exhibition “Edward Steichen: Portraits” at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a positive review but it seems to have a bit of an edge to it.

“Self-Portrait With Brush and Palette” is a celebrity photograph, an early one, one of the first. If you want to understand the knack of Annie Leibovitz, or the useful affections of Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, or how dress-up self-promotion got so deep into the art world, this 107-year-old image is a place where you might start.

It’s half artwork, half ad.

It’s great exhibition – not too large, not too small, very intimate. Here is the link to the official site for the exhibition:

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NPR: Artists Lament Polaroid’s Latest Development

Chuck Close is an American painter who derives his works from photographs. He creates towering — sometimes 10-foot-tall — portraits. Some of those are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Close says he has Polaroids of every painting he has done.

“It’s very discouraging,” Close says.

He says he has probably 2,000 Polaroids.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do.”

Close likes the incredible detail you get from the large-format film. What’s more, there’s instant gratification: You see that final large image just minutes after you take the shot.

I blogged about the demise of the Polaroid camera a few weeks ago. I had forgotten about Chuck Close and his love affair with Polaroid. There are so many artists like him, too. I hope that some company (like Fujifilm) will take up the film production end so that the existing cameras (like my slide printer) can still be used.

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Polaroid Abandons Instant Photography – The Lede – Breaking News – New York Times Blog

It was a wonder in its time: A camera that spat out photos that developed themselves in a few minutes as you watched. You got to see them where and when you took them, not a week later when the prints came back from the drugstore.

But in a day when nearly every cellphone has a digital camera in it, “instant” photography long ago stopped being instant enough for most people. So today, the inevitable end of an era came: Polaroid is getting out of the Polaroid business.

The company, which stopped making instant cameras for consumers a year ago and for commercial use a year before that, said today that as soon as it had enough instant film manufactured to last it through 2009, it would stop making that, too. Three plants that make large-format instant film will close by the end of the quarter, and two that make consumer film packets will be shut by the end of the year, Bloomberg News reports.

I love Polaroid cameras – I still have one of them and a special slide printer. I also learned to make Polaroid transfers onto watercolor paper – really lovely prints with a vintage feel. Our family had one of the early B&W cameras that needed to have the rather smelly coating smeared on after it developed for preservation. The later color cameras were great fun at parties. It’s sad to see an entire industry die away.

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Facing Down The Status Quo – washingtonpost.com

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slowly lifting the curtain on how it will approach the multitude of stories about African Americans. The museum is years away from opening on the Mall. Today its first exhibition opens at its Smithsonian sister the National Portrait Gallery, whose rich materials it scoured to present images from the past 151 years.

“Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits,” surveys 100 photographs, from a 1856 ambrotype, an early technique of photography, of Douglass to a 2004 snapshot of musician and composer Wynton Marsalis with a microphone in front of him, not a trumpet.

The faces are powerful and gorgeous. Their poses telegraph dignity and warmth. Their stories tell how they made steps forward as individuals to forge an image of a resilient, talented people.

We received a great review from the Washington Post for the exhibition that opened last Friday.

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Sept. 4, 1888: Photography Leaps Into the Late 19th Century

1888 George Eastman receives a patent for the first roll-film camera and registers the name “Kodak.”

What he would think of the about digital photography? He was right that everybody would take photographs one day but I don’t think he envisioned the world of camera phones and paparazzi. I love snapshop photography but it’s certainly generated a plethora of crappy images.

Personally, I’m glad that roll-film is still available even though it is a great polluter. I still have at least 5 roll-film cameras including two “brownies” with movable bellows that use 120 size film.

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DCist: Harry Benson @ The National Portrait Gallery

This is second new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and it’s appropriately adjacent to the Great Britons exhibition. The selection of nearly 100 photos spans time, cultures and continents. Scottish born photographer Harry Benson had the knack for “being there” and he managed to capture on film some of the defining moments in recent history – the arrival of the Beatles in the US (see above with Cassius Clay aka Muhammed Ali), the death of RFK, the resignation of Nixon, the attacks on the World Trade Center. Don’t miss this exhibition of truly memorable photographs.

The link provided is for a review of the exhibition from the dcist.com site.

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