Going in to the ICP’s library is like going to a diamond mine. It is a vast geography, and almost every single title in the collection carries that preciousness, yet this one book that I found is “The” real gem: Walker Evans : Polaroids .
I have always been enamored by the immediate nature of the Polaroid image, that seems suited to capturing the overlooked beauty and poetry of the everyday. The experience of photographing with a Polaroid camera, is the closest to an instant satisfaction being fulfilled. During the 60’s it was estimated that about half of all American households owned a Polaroid camera, and the democratization of pleasure was proven.
Most great photographers have used this medium a long their careers: Robert Frank, Mapplethorp, Warhole, Lucas Samaras, Hockney, Goldberg, just to mention a few. An interesting stand, is that of Tarkovsky’s, with his images from Moscow and Italy, with which he expressed to Tonino Guerra when looking at a stack of recently shot images: “What is it good for, to stop the time?”Andrei Tarkovsky 1977.
In 1973 Walker Evans began to work with the Polaroid SX-70 camera and was given an unlimited supply of film from its manufacturer. It was a perfect match: Evans’s concise and poetic vision of the world with the immediate and unequivocal preciseness of the Polaroid. His signature is present in each page, in each single image. “Nobody should touch a Polaroid until he’s over sixty,” Evans once said. He exposed photography to its core essence; the art of seeing, selecting and capturing,” says Gregory Crewdson (- See more at: http://www.vogue.com/culture/article/marrying-old-and-new-walker-evanss-polaroids-and-roni-horns-photographs-on-view-at-andrea-rosen-gallery/#1)image by Avi Ghupta
The book is a selection of 300 images from a collection of over 2000 images. . The size of the book and the page design follow a sample page created by Evans. This series, was the last the great Master worked on before he died in 1975. The work feels so contemporary and timeless at the same time. It is definitely worth spending some time with it.