Dana Lixenberg: Polaroid 54/59/79
Met haar polaroids vangt Dana Lixenberg celebrity’s op nét niet het goede moment (in Dutch)Joke de Wolf, Trouw, July 26, 2022
What Dana Lixenberg was thinking when she photographed Tupac, Ivana Trump, Kathleen Turner and moreMatt Vella, Financial Times, July 23, 2022
GRIMM is pleased to present to the book launch of
by Dana Lixenberg X Roma Publications
A limited edition print is available.
Polaroid 54/59/79 takes us back to the heyday of print media and the last period in which the photography in it was predominantly analogue. The book’s title refers to the types of peel-apart instant film that Lixenberg used between 1993 and 2010, which was loaded into a cassette that fit into her 4×5 field camera. These Polaroid prints were an essential part of her work process, serving as test and reference material for lighting and composition. If necessary, Lixenberg would show them to her subjects to gain their trust, but more often than not she would hide the test pictures during the shoot to avoid distraction. She would nearly always also give away one or more Polaroids as a keepsake, which is why from some of the shoots few, if any, remain.
Image quality was never Lixenberg’s primary aim with the Polaroid pictures. “A good Polaroid could really frustrate me, because it meant I had missed that specific emotion on film,” Lixenberg explains. She made her Polaroid tests in between shooting, usually in black and white, to keep the development time to a minimum. Some she pulled open too soon, leaving them underdeveloped or with uneven patches, and others were marked by notes, scratches or fingerprints — traces of the photo shoot that attested to the uniqueness of the Polaroids and to their utilitarian function. All together, they provide an intimate glimpse into Lixenberg’s work process. After the Polaroid Corporation went out of business in 2008, Lixenberg finished her last box of Polaroid 54 two years later.
This collection of Polaroids reflects the American culture Lixenberg encountered in the 1990s and 2000s. The images make us acutely aware of the passing of time, since our view of some of the public figures in the photos is inextricably colored by our knowledge of the course their lives later took.