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Andres Kertesz: The Polaroids (Book Review)

The Polaroids by Andres Kertesz

A beautiful photography book was produced by the master photographer Andres Kertesz (1894-1985) towards the end of his life. Following the death of his wife from cancer, shooting in available light in his New York apartment, Andres Kertesz produced a body of work created with the simple Polaroid SX70 that are almost spiritual in their simple composition and use of colour. A couple of those sensitive still life photographs leave me begging for ideas how they were executed: Andres Kertesz: The Polaroids.

This is a particularly small and well made photography book. It is heavy and the pages are card-thick with many of those pages relegated to a single one-to-one reproduction of an individual polaroid photograph. The cover is a glossy grey with a single Kertesz still-life of blue, green, yellow and red that typifies the high quality photography. There is a short Foreward by Eelco Wolfe, former Director of Communcations at Polaroid Corporation and a beautifully written introduction by Robert Gurbo, the curator of the Andres Kertesz Estate.

Andres Kertesz: The Polaroids is a photography book lovers’ photography book that has not made compromise in the quality. Heavy, clean and well designed.

The resurgence of Polaroid through The Impossible Project and other industry players has made this final chapter in the Andres Kertesz story even more fascinating. Because now you can go out and buy a refurbished SX-70 and shoot Impossible Polaroid film at relatively affordable prices. And when you see the limitations this work was created under you might better understand the magnificence of the work. They are a beautiful study of emotion, colour and light upon the backdrop of his small apartment and what could be seen from his window.

In these later years, Andres Kertesz was captivated by the immediacy of making images with Polaroid and he would sit them around his apartment to absorb their value. He shot prolifically, viewed the work critically and pulled together a lifetime behind the camera to create a unique body of work that stands on its own. In my mind, at least, these are among the best photographs produced during his career.

This book has made it onto my bookshelf as a keeper and I’m revisiting it often. You may also enjoy reading my review of Kertesz on Kertesz.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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