The New York artist attracted international attention with his large-scale paintings in the ‘80s, who has since forged a career as a film director, now turns his hand to photography.
He has done away with modern technology altogether, and uses an enormous Polaroid, which was made in the 1970s, of which there are only six copies.
The camera, designed to take photos in conditions with an abundance of light, is taken in the hands of Schnabel, who sometimes abandons his natural habitat of the studio to work outside.
Whatever it takes to produce the final result, majestic impressions of 20×24 inch prints, comes to say something. Something away from the technical perfection and which includes shadows and unexpected brightness, defects of the old equipment eventually are such which can change into ‘happy accidents’, which give greater credence to the picture.
Pictures of himself or his friends. Faces which he has been lucky to know such as Lou Reed, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke, Takashi Murakami or Plácido Domingo. Psychological explorations have come to be a continuation of those made in film characters such as the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls, or the French editor Jean-Dominique Bauby in Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
Julian Schnabel Polaroids displayed in the gallery Colnaghi, 15 Old Bond Street, London W1 to 12 November.
(Translated by Olivia Barnett)