Made in Polaroid

Celebrating creativity in a digitally-powered exhibit

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When scientist Edwin Land created the Polaroid camera in 1948, he hoped to simplify photography. As the Minnetonka, MN-based company continues to innovate in the 21st century, they’re keeping that value at the forefront with products like their GL10 Instant Mobile Printer. The wireless digital printer can pump out instant party pics or stand in as postcards of your latest vacation. Like the original invention, there’s tons of creative potential, which is shown to great effect in the one-week group exhibition and auction, “Made in Polaroid” that opens today, 7 September 2011, at New York City’s Phillips de Puery & Company’s gallery.


Described as “about the creative process and a new era of creative spirit” by photographer Chase Jarvis, who worked with Polaroid to put the show together, the project challenges 50 notables across various disciplines to each create one work of art using only the GL10. We got a sneak peek at the the lineup—including the likes of James Franco, Patrick Demarchelier, Rob Pruitt—and a chance to speak with avid Polaroid photographer and French stylist Maripol, artist and entrepreneur Vashtie Kola and the Philadelphia-based satire artist Joka, who explained their initial concepts and shared a few thoughts on using the printer.


Taking more than a week to print her final concept, Maripol’s “Maripolaroid Go Green” dress is the upshot of her longstanding passion for Polaroid pictures, undaunted by the printer’s initial technical difficulties. The legendary stylist, inspired by the vivid colors of the Zink printer, insists it’s “not a Polaroid, it’s a digital print.” She still uses the original camera and film too, most recently on a shoot for Vogue’s December 2011 issue, but her Polaroids have graced gallery walls around the world. In her piece for the exhibit, she seamlessly mixes old and new too, attaching the Zink paper images to a 1981 Millard dress with colored safety pins.


Looking to another legend of Maripol’s era as well as NYC itself, Vashtie snapped shots of city landmarks—both cultural and institutional—to make up her ransom letter-style Warhol quote. Her process included a few weeks of preparation, meticulously choosing her representative letters before scouring New York with her Canon G11 and iPhone, printing the final piece in three days. Vashtie told CH she habitually carries an Epson mobile printer with her and found the GL10 to be on par with weight and ease of usability once sorting out the initial setup.


Joka chose to combine traditional print photographs and painting in his “Do You See Me Like I See You?” Always working primarily in pinks and purples and applying paint with toothpicks, Joka’s time-consuming tactic beautifully balances the immediacy of his digital portrait. Though he shared that the project was more strategic than he was accustomed to, he enjoyed the pragmatism the printer lent to the challenge.

Raising awareness for Free Arts NYC, the auction will take place 14 September 2011 at Philips de Pury’s gallery at Milk Studios. Check out more details at the Made In Polaroid website.