Like many other wonderful tactile things, Polaroid film—which ironically quenches the same urge for instant results as digital cameras—is on the endangered species list. As with the Holga show it hosted in December, Saans Gallery aims to highlight a fading photographic medium with For the Love of Polaroid.
And people do love Polaroid. In addition to the open call for entries resulting in pics from Utah to London, the jury also selected works by local folks—amateurs and artists alike who covet the magic of point, shoot and shake. These entries line the walls near the windows, displayed en masse on either side of the gallery.
“My goal was to reach photographers from across the globe who shoot with Polaroid to exhibit how the medium is used by different artists from all over,” says Shalee Cooper, Saans’ curator. Yet, the resulting photographs from headlining artists Elizabeth Soule, Amanda Moore, Steph Parke, Mickey Murphy, Joshua Ray Caldwell, Grant Hamilton and Sean Tubridy seem to have a common Western feel, despite being from different regions.
It’s unclear whether this was the aesthetic intent, and it may not be readily noticeable, but something about the grouping through variant manifestations—abstract, staged, candid, landscape—reveals a bleak, beautiful portrait of familiarity. Maybe the Polaroid itself makes toys, small zoo creatures, state fairs and plain-Jane houses feel nostalgic. But never fear—it’s rumored that a new kind of instant film manufacturing will resume in 2010, so we may see a For the Love of Polaroid next year after all. (Cara Despain)
“For the Love of Polaroid” @ Saans Downtown Gallery, 173 E. Broadway, 801-328-8827, Feb. 20-March 16. SaansDowntown.com