“It’s not just the meaning of the image that has changed – the act of looking does not have the same meaning. Now, it’s about showing, sending and maybe remembering. It is no longer essentially about the image…”
The Photographers’ Gallery in London is hosting an extensive exhibition of film maker Wim Wenders’ early Polaroids called Instant Stories. They date from a prolific period in the 1970s which saw the release of some of his most memorable films.
The quotation above is from an interview with Wenders in The Guardian newspaper.
Update: I visited the show on October 27th and was not disappointed. It was a reminder of how beautiful the original Polaroid photograph was and how, by the inherent uniqueness of each image, it somehow captured a moment in time in a different way to conventional film. Hard to explain, but viewing each of the tiny prints at the viewing distance they demand draws you in to the circumstance of their creation. As Wenders puts it:
“This ‘real and singular thing’,
a little square picture in its own frame.
Not a copy, not a print, not multipliable, not repeatable.
You couldn’t help feeling
that you had stolen this image-object from the world.
You had transferred a piece of past into the present.”
Judging by the attendance when I was at the show, the fascination of Polaroids lives on. Luckily, The Impossible Project have now acquired what remained of the original Polaroid Corporation and are able to trade under the iconic name as Polaroid Originals.