There and Back. With Suspended in Light: Montreal / Polaroid Automatic 100 / Fuji FP3000b

I am absolutely dead-to-rights, head-over-heals for this ‘Polaroid’.

Yes, the tonal variations are effing exquisite. Note the gradual grade from right to left–reversing the convention set by Dutch Golden Age (that’s been more or less continued uninterrupted ever since).

And the light slides into the frame in such a way as to imply a right triangle. There are so many grace notes: the way the sunlight accentuates the curve of the bottle like a hand that can’t quite decide whether to lift the object or merely luxuriate in the cool press against its palm. The two plants–how they are just illuminated enough to separate them from the background, rendering them legible. The way the brightest point in the image is the echoing right angle formed by Suspended In Light’s left forearm the sink edge and the side of her top.

Oh, and the way the light from her left thigh pops against the gloaming darkness. And the second bottle to the left of the mirror with the sprig of something standing at attention. And the light on her reflected face…

Instant film stocks tend to provide an unpredictable softness of focus. It is used to masterful effect here were the paneling, sink pedastal and skin all appear to have visual texture that almost seems as if were you to touch it, it would feel like wood, porcelain and flesh.

But I think what I love most is the washing machine and dryer nudging in along the lower left edge of the frame. Not only does it balance out what would have otherwise between a frame leaning decidedly off balance to the right, the inclusion renders a greater degree of interest in the frame as a whole. There is a timelessness feel to the image but it is clearly anchored in the present.

I especially admire this image because in my own work, I am generally loathe to work indoors. I always tell myself that one day I’ll be able to afford to live in a place like the apartment in Mirror. This image serves as a reminder that even if I had that apartment, I’d still struggle to shoot in it because when you’re working in close confines, at a certain point you have to play it as it lays. I’m too much of a control freak to do that–and I think my work suffers as a result.

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