Worth Owning The Polaroid Book. You can’t predict where a great photography book is going to turn up.
I was in Santa Cruz in January and stopped at a wonderful used book store in the heart of the shopping district. Among the treasures found, all at reasonable prices, was The Polaroid Book, Selections From The Polaroid Collections of Photography, edited by Steve Crist, published by Taschen in 2008.
The book features 254 pictures in every possible style. The famous Poloroid artists are represented. But the bulk of the collection in this book is just people having fun creating “pictures in 60 seconds” using their Polaroid camera. Polaroid was (and is!–see SIDEBAR below) a square image format. There is something about a square format that is liberating and the photographs in this book show it. Square compositions are exploited to their maximum potential throughout the book. (I should also say that Polaroid made sheet film for 4×5 and 8×10 cameras, and maybe others. There are some rectangular Polaroid images shot on those films in this book. However, they are relatively few.)
But this book isn’t a technical masterpiece. It’s a masterpiece of FUN! Yes, there are images that obviously took great technical skill. But the emphasis is on images that draw a gut reaction from the viewer. As I’ve said before–these are my faves. Before you waste a moment dissecting the technical accomplishments inherent in the image, your psyche reacts with irresistible emotion–laughter, tears, shock–all of it.
As it says on many bathroom walls all over the world, “For a good time…..” pick up this book and spend some time with it. You will be glad you did. The Polaroid Book is VERY inexpensively available on Amazon HERE.
SIDEBAR: Polaroid film is no longer made by Polaroid, who have long exited the business (someone owns the name and is trying to make a go of it selling small format cameras and film for children–maybe something to explore). However, one firm named IMPOSSIBLE is currently manufacturing film for the old Polaroid cameras that take 600-format film. Again, see Amazon at THIS LINK. So the next time you see one of those cool Polaroid cameras for sale in the thrift store for $5, stop and consider the possibilities!