The Westlicht Explores Polaroids in What Might Be Their Final Exhibit

Predating Instagram by several decades, Polaroid’s instant photographs were a hit from the mid-20th century up to the digital revolution, fitting all darkroom procedures inside the camera and promising the “60-second excitement.”

While never displacing conventional film, artists and consumers alike loved the spontaneity of the format, with the 1970s-era SX-70 in particular defining the technology everyone had to try and becoming a model for other innovative companies like Apple.

With about 200 candid shots by nearly 100 photographers – including heavyweights like Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper, Nobuyoshi Araki, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg and Ansel Adams among others – The Polaroid Project combines the Vienna-based International Polaroid Collection with loans from Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Netherlands, shown alongside the cameras developed by Polaroid’s founder Edwin Land.

The selection is as eclectic as the photographers, displaying collages, abstract art and the rare oversized 20×24 format, for a fitting tribute to a technology that could eternalize a fleeting moment on 8.8×10.7 cm paper within seconds.

Westlicht hopes for a broad audience in an attempt to stave off possible closure in March 2018. With primary sponsor Leica discontinuing its €400,000 annual contribution, the existence of the popular photographic museum is now threatened. A petition was started recently to save the museum and can be signed on change.org.

Nov 18- Feb 25, Westlicht. 7., Westbahnstrasse 40. westlicht.com

Claudia Paccosi
Claudia Paccosi is half Italian and half Austrian, studied in Rome and was a journalist for Storyful in Dublin. She loves to see almost everything under a poetic veil, that's why she moved to Vienna, where she can learn to dance Walzer and experience its cold snowy winter.

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