Susan Mikula uses Polaroid film to document derelict industrial docks and other wrecked Americana, a subject I myself have a fondness for. But she does it in a way that’s entirely her own: using badly outdated Polaroid film found at garage sales and the like, embracing its messed-up color palette and unreliable reagant. That incorporates a stochastic aspect into her process—will this pack of film work? How about this one?—that is, in the digital age, interesting turf to be exploring. She also deliberately shoots out-of-focus, then scans and lightly modifies her Polaroid images to (among other things) get rid of the Mylar gloss of the top sheet. The combination of blur and spoiled film and editing puts her subjects just at the very limits of recognizability. As her gallery’s Website puts it, “Her choice to shoot in Polaroid may have initially been driven by aesthetics, but as the series has unfolded into a cycle of almost 60 finished images that span three years, it has become apparent just how commensurate are her chosen medium and her chosen subject. Mikula has captured a fading aspect of a bygone era with fading film and an obsolete technology.” My kinda photographer. Plus her partner is Rachel Maddow, who gets a lot of airtime in our household.
Great slideshow of her work here. Click through, it’s worth it.
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