The Polaroids


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The Polaroids of Sibylle Bergemann is a retrospective book of her collected Polaroid works, following her death in 2010. The photographs are not titled, described, nor dated. They’re reproduced on a 1:1 scale, to let us flip through her collection without her voice accompanying it and instead only our imaginations. The body of work is a delicate, feminine collection of striking images, with subjects including young children posing in dramatic costumes, notes from ordinary encounters with mailboxes or abandoned chairs, geometric tourism, and fashion portraiture. Bergemann pushes the capabilities of the Polaroid instant film medium, exploiting its natural tendencies for saturated colours and blurry imperfections to create vibrant, dreamlike and romantic images. Apart from the medium, the photographs stand on their own as tiny treasures, capturing superb details and textures, and particularly the weight of the emotional expressions on her subjects.

Available for sale by Hatje Cantz, including an introductory text by Jutta Voigt.

Reviewed by Katherine Oktober Matthews.