Friday, 1 July 2011

Capture the Moment

I thought I would make a post on the polaroid. These photos of Bob and I were taken as part of our first ever shoot with the photographer George Garnier. He felt the polaroid shots were just as important as the digital. Having looked through the hundreds of photos he took, the polaroids had a magic to them which the digital shots didn't master. It is this magic that I want to explore.

A good friend of mine, Cyrus Mahboubian, recently held an exhibition entitled '1/1' on the polaroid and in his own words:

'Polaroids are real, unique originals. There is no negative or digital backup from which to make additional copies. In today’s world they are increasingly special, with their singularity, small scale and erratic image quality in contrast to the razor-sharp digital photographs of today. They are mysterious, rich of feeling and loaded with nostalgia.'

These were two of my favourite polaroids of his. In my opinion, he has captured the moment in a timeless and immaculate manner. There is nothing erratic or flustered about the quality or composition.

Knowing that there can only ever be one of something makes it all the more special. Today I discovered this amazing website:, where this guy, Hugh Crawford took a polaroid everyday for nearly twenty years. Sheer dedication. These were some photos of his that captured my attention:

Along the way, I have discovered many photographers who have taken wonderful polaroids. These two were taken by Robert Mapplethorpe, who was fascinated by the polaroid when he started out experimenting with photography. Patti Smith being his eternal muse:

Andy Warhol:

Guy Bourdin
was one of the first photographers to create a complex narrative with polaroids, sometimes sinister and surreal. Working for Vogue, Bourdin was influenced by his mentor Man Ray, photographer Edward Weston and the surrealist painters Magritte and Balthus. Even though much less well known to the public than his colleague Helmut Newton, he has possibly has been more influential on the younger generations of fashion photographers.

These polaroids were taken by Victoria Birkinshaw. I couldn't find much information on her, but I thought they had a certain charm and nostalgia about them:

The fashion photographer Jonathan Leder has an amazing collection of polaroids. He grew up in New York in the 1970's and these are some of my favourite of his:

The only information I could find on this polaroid taken by Grant Hamilton, is that he 'strives to find beauty in the mundane'.

I love this polaroid taken by Jon Austin:

One way of capturing a moment and keeping it about your person is to have it digitally printed on a silk scarf, which is what the French handbag and accessory designer, Phillipe Roucou has created:

Wherever possible I have attempted to identify the photographer of each of the polaroids seen in this post, but there are many that have no source. Here are some polaroids I have found, that I love, which are unidentified:

Long live the polaroid.

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