The Patina of Polaroid : Images by Mari Seder, in Class of 1941 Gallery

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Wed, Aug 26, 2015

In and Around the Library

Roseland, Polaroid transfer from the Cuba series, by Mari Seder

Roseland, Polaroid transfer from the Cuba series, by Mari Seder. View more of Mari’s work.

The Class of 1941 Gallery, on Gordon Library’s level three, hosts “The Patina of Polaroid — Toys from the Attic and Cuba : Time Suspended,” two series of photographs by Worcester artist Mari Seder, which use the Polaroid camera with vastly different results.

For the “Toys from the Attic” series, Seder used a large 20 x 24 inch Polaroid camera. The almost life-size quality of this large format helps to give added importance to objects she photographs, exploring themes of memory, nostalgia for the past and aging of material objects. Mari says : “The project began when I noticed the surface of my son’s favorite toy–his red fire truck–becoming increasingly rusted. I wanted to preserve this stage of deterioration, visual appearance of the toy itself, and the memories surrounding the toy.” The inherent qualities of the large format camera–shallow depth of field, detail of the characteristics of aging, and the vivid color inherent in the film itself–help to contribute to the romanticism of these objects.

In contrast, the Polaroid transfer process used in the “Cuba: Time Suspended” series yields colors that appear washed out. The images are almost microscopic in comparison to the size of the 20 x 24 inch  prints.  The Polaroid transfer process was developed accidentally by Edwin H. Land, inventor of the Polaroid instant photographic process. He was processing the small peel apart 3×4 inch Polaroid film and by accident left the emulsion side of the film facing the counter.  When he picked it up he saw that an image had been left on the counter from the wet emulsion, and thus the Polaroid transfer process became an art form. “Cuba: Time Suspended” uses the almost dreamlike qualities of the process to highlight images of a country still in the past.

Mari Seder lives half of the year in Worcester and half in Oaxaca, Mexico. Although she originally studied painting, photography soon became her passion.  In addition to the Polaroid work, she has used the alternative antique photographic processes Van Dyke and cyanotype, and done pinhole photography, and hand-coloring of black and white images. She leads photography workshops in Mexico and Cuba.

The exhibition will be on view through September 26. Come meet Mari at a reception on September 16, 5 to 7 p.m.

Questions? Contact libraryexhibits@wpi.edu.

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This post was written by:

Lora Brueck

- who has written 47 posts on Gordon Library.


One Response to “The Patina of Polaroid : Images by Mari Seder, in Class of 1941 Gallery”

  1. siddhimore15 Says:

    its always great to come across your posts Lora. This one is also as informative and interesting asthe others…vintage Polaroid cameras always produced a very unique effect indeed… I am a great fan of vintage art and wish to have a few of these ‘Toys from the Attic’ series photographs for my vintage print gallery…