When Polaroid collapsed in 2008 it was the death of a Twentieth Century icon. The instant film, beloved of artists and image-makers for decades, allowed photographers to not only record the party, but be part of it too.
A casualty of the bankruptcy was The Polaroid Collection, a 4,400 strong collection taken by 800 artists from around the world; started in the Sixties after Polaroid’s founder and inventor Edwin Herbert Land decided to provide artists and photographers such as Ansel Adams and William Wegman with free cameras and film to experiment with.
In the liquidation carve-up a chunk of the collection was auctioned off by Sotheby’s. Luckily the WestLicht Museum in Vienna managed to acquire the European part of the collection. Now the WestLicht has put together POLAROID (IM)POSSIBLE, featuring over 350 photographs from their stash, with shots ranging from a self-portrait by Andy Warhol to a Helmut Newton nude.
Running alongside the exhibition is a pop-up shop by The Impossible Project. The collective, made up of former Polaroid employees, managed to save the last Polaroid production plant from closure. Since then they’ve continued to produce Polaroid products so that the world can still get its quick photographic kicks. The exhibition even includes new photographs by contemporary artists shooting on Impossible film. It’s an analogue revolution.
POLAROID [IM]POSSIBLE is at The WestLicht Museum, Vienna until August 21.