Richard Benson on SX-70 prints

"The final small color Polaroid camera of any distinction was the SX-70. The company got into the practice of giving film and cameras to well-known photographers, who would repay the gift by the donation of some pictures made with the materials. Toward the end of his life Walker Evans could be found with multiple cameras, and a case or two of SX-70 film. When he found a suitable subject, Evans would expose a case or two of SX-70 film. When he found a suitable subject, Evans would expose a full pack of eight sheets of the same thing, stuffing each successive exposure in his jacket pocket while they were developing themselves. ... Evans tended to find a young man to drive the car, make the tea, and carry the packages, so he could keep working even as he became more and more frail with advancing age. He had the habit of collecting old signs and detritus from the roadsides, and those of us who traveled with him were often pressed into service to steal the old advertising signs or even, on some occasions, actual road signs."

excerpt from The Physical Print

As an aside: I'm sad to report that my beloved SX-70 with sonar autofocus has died. 20 years of rough handling and several trips around the world have left the plastic body cracked. A few shots from this camera can be found here.

related: The Polaroid Collective


Nancy Fulton said...

I love these old cameras as much as old Smith Corona typewriters; but I still have so many doubts about any cameras at all. Do you ever wonder how the camera gets in the way of yourself and what you are looking at ?
I also wonder how far photography can be pushed as an art medium anymore. I feel there are similar problems with the short story and the novel. Are we all just barking at the same tree ? Sorry to post such a controversial comment here, but I feel like there are issues to be discussed and you seem like a good candidate for thinking about this. Some of the problems I am hinting at exist in contemporary art already, but there seems to be a divide between contemporary art issues and the more general world of photography.
( sorry for any typos and vagueness )

10/09/2006 08:55:43 AM  
Anonymous said...

Photography is my work but it is also my passion... it can get in the way of my experiencing things if I get bogged down in the technical, but more commonly it is an extension of the way I experience the world. The camera helps me organize my experience... for example if I am confronted with a broad landscape as I was a few weeks ago in Ireland, the camera helps me make the experience comprehendible. When I compose a picture it's as if I'm saying, this is what I choose to remember.

As for photography and short stories and novels of course they are still valid and vibrant mediums for artists. There will always be new eyes and new ways of looking.


10/09/2006 03:16:43 PM  

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