Instant (Polaroid) magic at Christ Church gallery | Rock Candy

Instant (Polaroid) magic at Christ Church gallery

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Rachel Worthen, "Ocean Creature."
  • Rachel Worthen, "Ocean Creature."


The Blue-Eyed Knocker group of photographers pay homage to the Polaroid instant camera with an exhibition, "Last Glimpses of Authentic Polaroid Art," opening Friday, July 1, at Christ Church's gallery. 

The show includes 36 photographs by fine art photographers Brandon Markin, Darrell Adams, Lynn Frost, Rachel Worthen and Rita Henry.

In a fascinating news release that gives the history of Polaroid pictures, Henry explains why the group tackled Polaroids:
Polaroid images can blend the boundaries of painting, printmaking and photography — with an assortment of physical blending and blurring techniques applied to the images. “This is one of the few current exhibits that present the unique characteristics of authentic Polaroid art photography,” said Henry, coordinator of the exhibit. “It might be one of the last exhibits of its kind. ... This exhibition displays images created by knowledgeable photographers embracing the glory of Polaroid’s unpredictability of color and emulsion.” 

Polaroid film expired in 2009 — the cameras were the victim of the popularity of point-and-shoot 30 millimeter cameras and digital photography — but photographers in the show have continued to acquire extant film. Because of the film's age and sensitive chemical reaction, "very happy accidents occur" in the printing, Henry said.  

There will be a reception at the church, 509 Scott St., from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 8. The show runs through September.

The full release is on the jump.


Rita Henry, "Lorraine Hotel."
  • Rita Henry, "Lorraine Hotel."



New Art Photography Exhibit Conjures
“Instant Magic” of Authentic Polaroid Art

A close-knit group of Arkansas art photographers gives new life and vibrancy to the once-heralded “instant magic” of authentic Polaroid art photography in a new exhibit July 1 through September 30 at Christ Episcopal Church at 509 Scott Street in Little Rock.

The collection of 36 photographs, titled “Last Glimpses of Authentic Polaroid Art,” is the work of five members of the Blue Eyed Knocker group of fine art photographers, Brandon Markin, Darrell Adams, Lynn Frost, Rachel Worthen and Rita Henry.

The show opens with a free public reception with food and beverages during Second Friday Art Night, 5:30 to 8 p.m., July 8.

Polaroid instant photography was introduced in 1948 by inventor Edwin Land. In the 1960s almost half of America’s households owned a Polaroid camera, which produced instant images through unique chemical developing processes which required the user to pull the film out of the camera and peel the negative from the positive image at the end of the developing process.

In addition to their mass popularity, Polaroid cameras captured attention and use by such noted art photographers as Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol.

Facing competition from digital photography and following bankruptcy in 2002, Polaroid discontinued production of the authentic cameras and film. Internationally, devoted users continued to use the remaining authentic Polaroid products producing one-of-a-kind images. Polaroid images can blend the boundaries of painting, printmaking and photography — with an assortment of physical blending and blurring techniques applied to the images.

“This is one of the few current exhibits that present the unique characteristics of authentic Polaroid art photography,” said Henry, coordinator of the exhibit. “It might be one of the last exhibits of its kind.”

The show exhibits a diverse collection of Polaroid photographic art from SX-70 and 8x10 prints to image transfers and emulsion lifts. The last real Polaroid film expired in 2009. This local group of photographers continued acquiring film and creating art utilizing the classic Polaroid equipment and studied techniques. A primary Polaroid film characteristic is the sensitive chemical reaction. According to the film’s age, storage and manipulation, the images can vary and “very happy accidents occur,” according to Henry. “This exhibition displays images created by knowledgeable photographers embracing the glory of Polaroid’s unpredictability of color and emulsion.”

“Last Glimpses of Authentic Polaroid Art” subjects range from intimate candid portraits to studio shots, landscapes at sunrise, store window displays, Halloween pumpkins and skeletal fossils.

Brandon Markin described his Polaroid art as “pulled tabs, peeled paper and faded dreams: a chemical appeal.” Lynn Frost called her Polaroid images “magically serendipitous.” Photographer Darrell Adams explained, “Polaroid images made history. Before microwaves or cell phones, Polaroids were the first instant images. Artists around the world use the last remaining frames to create magnificent art.”

Rachel Worthen observed that “Polaroid is becoming the lost art of photography. The alternative processes are slightly warped versions of reality and a most rewarding artform.” Henry summarized the group’s feeling, saying, “Polaroid might become vintage…but for now these last beautiful images deserve a show.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Monday through Thursday, Friday 9 a.m. to noon, and Sunday8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christ Church is located at Scott and Capitol Streets.. The Gallery entrance is through South parking lot.

Christ Church supports the local art community and states, “At Christ Church, we believe artists show us the world’s truth and beauty….artists connect us to the world outside ourselves and inspire us to be the highest version of ourselves.”

For more information, artist interviews and photographs for reproduction, contact Rita Henry at 870-538-7414 / rdhenry@aristotle.net or Coordinator of the Gallery, Diana Shearon /dianashearon@gmail.com. 501-590-5934.


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