Thom Bennett

Thom Bennett

Guest Instagrammer

Thom Bennett is a New Orleans-based commercial photographer; his day job is as staff photographer at M.S. Rau Antiques. He has been using the same SX-70 since buying it new in 1979 and still wishes he had used it more than he did.

This is @thomnola taking over @packpeelpour for the week showcasing photographers who have utilized Polaroid and instant materials in their work and continue to inspire us. Guy Bourdin (1928-1991), a protege of Man Ray, upended the fashion world with his surrealistic and evocative images for Vogue, Chanel, and, most famously, Charles Jourdon. Bourdin created scenes that built upon sensual, absurd narratives that made the images, not the products, the focus of attention. He is credited with redirecting fashion photography away from glamour and glitz and into the realm of art and the imagination. His work is held in the permanent collections of MoMA, The Getty, SFMoMA, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. #polaroid #instantphotography #fashionphotography #manray #surrealism #surrealistphotography #1970s

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This is @thomnola taking over @packpeelpour for the week. We're looking at some of the great photographers who have used instant materials to express themselves. Marie Cosindas (1925 – 2017) was working as a textile designer and initially used the camera to make visual notes for upcoming designs. In 1961 she took a workshop with Ansel Adams where he told her, "You're shooting in black and white but you're thinking in color." When Edwin Land asked Adams to recommend someone to test Polaroid's new Polacolor peel-apart film in 1962, Adams immediately thought of Cosindas. During her experiments she "…tried everything: mixing light, temperature control, long exposures, extended development times and filters – and did everything I wasn't supposed to do. The film responded. The results were like no other color I had used." In 1966 she had a solo show of her color work at the Museum of Modern Art, 10 years before Eggleston's seminal exhibit. Her handling of color was painterly and thoughtful; Tom Wolfe compared her to Caravaggio and Gustav Klimt. "The fact that my early photographs did come from a painterly tradition was no accident: I wanted to be a painter." Reluctant to lend her work to galleries because they were one-of-a-kind pieces, her star never rose to the heights of her contemporaries. There is a book of her photographs, published in 1978, "Marie Cosindas: Color Photographs." #instantphotography #polaroid #polaroids #polacolor #impossibleproject #impossibleprojecthq #1960sphotography

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This is @thomnola taking over @packpeelpour for the week. Today we're looking not at one particular photographer but at one particular Polaroid camera – the 20x24 Polaroid and some of the artists who utilized it to create their work. The 20x24 was created in 1976 to showcase the new Polacolor II film, the same materials used for all peel-apart films in 3 1/4 X 4 1/4 to 8x10 format. In 1977 and 1978 five cameras were built and immediately put to work. Basically a 4x5 camera scaled up, the camera provided serious artists with a final 20x24 print in just minutes. Although the cameras weighed 235 lbs. they could be moved out of the studio for location work. There are currently two cameras in operation; one on the east coast and one on the west coast. There is a limited supply of film stock and, once that is used up, this beautiful format will no longer exist. www.20x24studio.com bsidefilm.com #20x24polaroid #instantphotography #instantcolorfilm #polaroid #imagetransfer #mammothcamera #polacolor #largeformatphotography

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This is @thomnola taking over @packpeelpour this week. Going to jump away from the historical work to feature a contemporary photographer, Kevin Lajoie. I met Kevin through the New Orleans Photo Alliance and got a kick out of his doodle project @thedoodleprojectus where he takes a portrait of someone with his SX-70, pastes it onto sketching paper, and has the subject draw a doodle. An interesting take on collaborative work. The other images are from a series entitled, "Saudade," a Portugese word roughly translating to "the feeling of missingness." As Kevin says, "To hold a Polaroid is to hold a memory, and the fact that it is both the positive and the negative isolates it. It can never be recreated, it only is." Kevin's work can be seen in the show, Alien vs. Predator at The New Orleans Art Center, opening tomorrow night (Saturday, August 12, 6-9pm). #sx70 #neworleans #doodles #saudade #stclaudeartsdistrict #stclaudeartwalk

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This is @thomnola taking over @packpeelpour for the week. Today for inspiration we're looking at William Miller's "Ruined Polaroid" series. Miller, a veteran New York photojournalist, bought a broken SX-70 at a yard sale and tried to make it work as it should. One day he took a look at all of the ruined prints the camera had spit out and realized he was on to something very different from his work as a photojournalist. The images were more akin to abstract painting and he began to pay attention the the way the camera processed the prints so he worked to control that as best he could. He scans the final results and prints them quite large at 30"x36". "Photography is a lot like memory, which is to say it's a very unreliable witness. Not the physical lenses and light of a camera (photography is good at deception) but our relationship to images. I love photography but do not trust it at its word." Miller studied photography at Bard College with Larry Fink and Stephen Shore and received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. www.williammillerphoto.com #polaroid #polaroidsx70 #impossibleproject #impossibleproject_hq #svanyc #bardcollege #ruinedpolaroids #instantfilm

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This is @thomnola doing my final takeover post for @packpeelpour. I want to thank the great minds behind @packpeelpour Seth and Nicole for creating a space that everyone interested in instant photography can share their ideas and work. I've attempted this week to showcase work from a few of the Masters of early instant photography (Evans, Bourdin, Cosindas, 20x24 Polaroids) and touch on a couple of contemporary photographers who utilize instant film in their work (Lajoie, Miller). For my last post I would like to show an example of how I was influenced by another photographer's work. I was assigned to photograph the musician Jonathan Freilich and, being familiar with his complex, layered music, I tried to think of a way to get that across visually and thought of David Hockney's portraits using hundreds of Polaroids of a scene and combining them in such a way as to show multiple viewpoints within one constructed image. I found an interesting setting and worked with Jonathan to create enough images to be able to put together the final piece back at the studio. Looking back at the history of photography as well as our contemporaries for inspiration can lead to unexpected adventures.

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