Celebrity Polaroids Give New Life to Dead Film


Photo

A Polaroid photograph from “Madonna 66,” which contains shots of Madonna from June 1983, over a month before her first album was released.

Credit
Richard Corman

There was a time when the term “instant” brought to mind not an iPhone snap but the simple bliss of seeing a film pop through a Polaroid camera, fixing a giddy moment onto a memory that would last a lifetime (provided the photograph didn’t fade).

Not so since Feb. 29, when Fujifilm announced that it would stop producing its FP-100C film, a final blow to photographers who had squirreled away the peel-apart prints after Polaroid discontinued its stock in 2008.

The fashion world, of course, loves nothing more than something it can’t get its hands on. Cue the recent books that elevate the Polaroid to art object, with celebrities as their subject.

“I feel like, right now, it’s almost like the last hurrah,” said Phillip Leeds, a photographer whose book of star-studded Polaroids, “Big Shots,” will be released in March by Rizzoli ($24.95, 304 pp.), with Rita Ora on the cover and entertainers, including Pharrell Williams, who wrote the introduction, inside.

“I do think the speeding-up of our culture makes people like the old format of that instant satisfaction,” Mr. Leeds said about the affection for Polaroid film.

If readers want their lust for Polaroid books gratified before the spring, 1,500 copies of the flesh-pink book “Madonna 66” will ship at the end of this week (NJG Publishing, 60 pounds for a signed and numbered copy, 164 pp.). It contains shots of Madonna from June 1983, over a month before her first album was released, taken by the photographer Richard Corman in her brother’s East Village apartment. The sitting was encouraged by Mr. Corman’s mother, an apparently prescient casting director.

“I think the Polaroid is this little jewel that, in some ways, is just untouched,” Mr. Corman said. “They’re not manipulated, they’re raw, as the subject matter was.”

Photo

“Big Shots” includes Polaroids taken by the photographer Phillip Leeds of entertainers like Rita Ora, pictured on the cover, and Pharrell Williams.

There is nothing scandalous about the 66 previously unreleased Polaroids, which feature the singer wearing demure acid-wash denim and a pleasant expression. Nonetheless, Mr. Corman sought and received her blessing before releasing them.

“Look, when I photograph somebody, whether it’s you, or Madonna, or Mandela, I have so much respect, and I feel so responsible for those pictures. I would never publish anything without them knowing,” Mr. Corman said. “I just feel that they’re important. I feel that this is a piece of pop-culture history.”

The book’s elaborate packaging is reminiscent in concept, if not execution, of another piece of pop-culture history: Madonna’s own 1992 tome, the Mylar-wrapped “Sex.” Mr. Corman said Nick Groarke, the creative director of NJG Studio, wanted “Madonna 66” to be “a tactile book — that you touched it and you felt something.” Even if that something is just a nostalgia for a pre-Instagram era.

Photo

A shot of Madonna, taken by Richard Corman. “I think the Polaroid is this little jewel that, in some ways, is just untouched,” he said.

Credit
Richard Corman

“I think the Polaroids are really, in some ways, a reflection of that period,” Mr. Corman said. “Not so much the technology, but the fact that people just seemed less guarded. And more open to being exposed.”

But not everyone is so nonchalant about being exposed in old Polaroids.

Through his limited liability company, Imperial Publishing, the photographer Jonathan Leder is set to ship a limited run of signed copies within the next few weeks of “Leder/Ratajkowski ‘Collector’s Edition,’” featuring nude shots of the model Emily Ratajkowski taken in 2012 ($80, 84 pp.).

Ms. Ratajkowski, however, has used Twitter to denounce Mr. Leder’s coming publication of 71 Polaroids, most of which feature her nude, a year before she burst on the scene in the Robin Thicke video “Blurred Lines.” “I’ve been resisting speaking publicly on the recently released photos by Jonathan Leder to avoid giving him publicity. But I’ve had enough,” she wrote on Nov. 30 to 918,000 on Twitter. “This book and the images within them are a violation.”

Photo

A Polaroid of the model Emily Ratajkowski taken by the photographer Jonathan Leder. Ms. Ratajkowski has used Twitter to denounce Mr. Leder’s coming publication of 71 photographs, most of which feature her nude.

Credit
Jonathan Leder

She wrote, furthermore: “These photos being used w/out my permission is an example of exactly the opposite of what I stand for: women choosing when and how they want to share their sexuality and bodies.”

Regarding the ability to publish the images themselves, Mr. Leder disagreed. He provided a release signed by Ms. Ratajkowski’s agent at Ford at the time, Natalie Smith, granting among other rights use in “a future book of Polaroids.”

Mr. Leder said: “It’s almost like, if you find treasure in the desert, or a dinosaur bone, you’re not going to keep it secret for yourself. It’s something that you want to share and exhibit with the world. I think that’s not only the right of the artist, but also that’s the position of the artist to do that. And the responsibility, I suppose.”

Regardless of the message, he will miss this particular medium.

“Over the last five years, I’ve only shot Polaroids,” he said. “I would have kept going, except Fuji pulled the plug.”

Continue reading the main story



Source link

About admin

Check Also

Memorial T-Shirts Create a Little Justice, a Tiny Peace

“It’s a beautiful art, but it’s pretty morbid,” he said. Often, the T-shirts he designs ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *