Polaroid is unusual among photographic tools: Photographers who use it are nearly unanimous in their appreciation for it. Its quirky color; its neat, square format; the cameras that release photographs like stuck out tongues; and, of course, the immediacy, all inspire Polaroid’s vaunted status.
What photographers may appreciate most about Polaroid, however, is the challenge of mastering this fussy, wonderful format and using it to its maximum potential. Los Angeles-based photographer Mike Slack has done this with aplomb. Since his classic 2002 book Ok Ok Ok (J&L Books), Slack has delighted viewers with his Polaroid work. He has since published three more books, and recently contributed photographs to The Photographer’s Playbook, 307 Assignments And Ideas (Aperture).
Slack, who is also the co-founder of independent publishing house The Ice Plant, will give an artist’s talk about his work tomorrow night in New York at The Penumbra Foundation from 7:30 to 9pm. During his lecture, he’ll discuss the history of Polaroid, and his wide-ranging influences, from pictographs to the light in Los Angeles, to the science and philosophy of Louis Pasteur. Slack included a quote from Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” in Ok Ok Ok.
The event is the latest in The Penumbra Foundation’s series of salon-style discussions moderated by Harper’s Magazine art director Stacey D. Clarkson.
The Penumbra Foundation, “a non-profit photographic arts and education organization devoted to offering a complete curriculum from the inception of photography in 1839 to the present digital age,” is located at 36 East 30th Street.