In working with the 20 x 24 inch polaroid camera, Lucas Samaras brought a technological behemoth into his studio. He set up colorful lights, draperies, and a kitchen chair, before exposing his sitters and himself to the dispassionate eye of the camera. The resulting oversized color prints are confounding—a glimpse into an instantaneous artistic transformation witnessed by the artist and revealed in great detail to the viewer. This and other large-scale polaroids of the series anticipate the intrusion of communication technology into the most personal aspects of people’s lives. While they might be less delirious and intimate than Samaras’s earlier photographic self-portraits—he had worked with smaller-format polaroids for a decade before the 20 x 24 became available, often collaging and physically manipulating the images—the luscious, larger works preserve the experience of a sensual encounter between man and machine.
Julie L. McGee
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Art History, University of Delaware, Newark
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