The Art Newspaper is reporting on a big crowdsourcing program that’s getting underway to document the history of Polaroid photography. The writeup is a little vague and tangled (says your obsessive editor, who can’t read anything without a pencil in hand), but it sounds like the plan is to ask artists who’ve shot Polaroid film to pull it all out of storage and take a fresh look at it, then submit their best work. From the story:

An ambitious collaboration to document the achievements of the now defunct Polaroid Corporation is being made possible thanks to an initial grant from the Land Fund. The Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP) and the scientific college Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) intend to develop a touring exhibition and a series of publications, produced in conjunction with Thames and Hudson.

“This is a call for submissions. It demands the best of the best material. This is not a community project, we want the stuff that can hold its own against the art of the period—and it was a long period, from 1950 to 1990,” says William Ewing, the former director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, which held a major portion of the Polaroid collection until its recent dispersal as a result of bankruptcy sales (see The Art Newspaper, March 2011, p59).

He adds that they’ll be looking to document the scientific and industrial aspects of Polaroid work as well. That sounds a lot like the mission of the Polaroid Collection itself, which includes lots of microscopy photos and the like, and I’m happy to see someone picking up the ball there. I should add that Deborah Douglas, of the MIT Museum, is one of the figures behind this project, and she (and the collection she curates) has also been a great help on this little book of mine.

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