While they may look like impressionist paintings, each of these images is actually a Polaroid photograph. At least, that's what each image began its existence as: a three-inch square Polaroid print, shot with a 1970's vintage SX-70 folding SLR.
In addition to being a revolutionary camera design (though far from an ergonomic one), Polaroid designed an entirely new film for the SX-70, creating, for the first time, a one-piece instant print. This meant no peeling, less waste, and, in a nod to the marketing department, the novelty of being able to watch the image appear in full color.
The SX-70 print also had a very soft emulsion under its clear mylar surface, one that would remain pliable, depending upon ambient temperatures, for quite some time after the picture had fully developed. With careful prodding, one could move details of a picture around, creating brushstrokes as well as mixing and altering the colors. These characteristics have been favored and exploited by many artists, and I fell under its spell more than ten years ago.
I made hundreds of SX-70 manipulations from 1996 through about 2001, mostly during the summers, since the camera and film packs tended to get cranky in cooler weather. I would often work on several prints at once, and soon had a small toolkit of burnishers, toothpicks, and dead ball-point pens to push and prod my images around.
During the early years I exhibited and sold framed and unframed originals at art fairs, with very positive responses. They were a nice contrast to my larger black and white photographs, as well as good sellers.
As the years went on, the film packs were getting harder to find each summer, so I made fewer VanGoghlaroids, as I had been calling them. But in 2004 I'd acquired both a high resolution scanner and six-color printer. I began scanning, enlarging, and cleaning up some of the older images, and printing them as large as 12 inches square, something I could only dream about ten years earlier.
I got the news late that Polaroid had finally pulled the plug and discontinued the entire line in the fall of 2005. I found out in the spring of 2006; but I was able to get a ten-pack of cartridges on Ebay. These may be the last of the VanGoghlaroids, but in this digital age, they're sure to last for the ages, or at least the next major server crash.
..is currently a professional photographer and until 1996 worked in the pre-press color trade.
When his career in that business came to an end, he went off in pursuit of the latent image for newspapers, fine art, and school yearbooks. In 2004 he found his skills as a film photographer transiting to a new level, a change brought on by the digital age...