Instant Stories: Wim Wenders’ Polaroids at The Photographers Gallery

The Photographers Gallery is currently offering viewers a stunning insight in the beautiful polaroid life of Wim Wenders. The exhibition spreads over two floors of the gallery, with every wall being filled with around two hundred of Wenders’ beautiful, unique polaroid photographs from his life in the 1970s and the 1980s. The exhibition also includes a selection of moving images from his films on screens that are positioned in a small space that surrounds and immerses viewers. There is also a stunning short film by Wenders.

The walls of the gallery are all white, lending a fresh backdrop to the beautifully colourful photos Wenders has taken. The polaroids are organised in segments around the exhibition as a storyline through his life, including ‘New York, First Impressions’, ‘Geysers and Waterfalls’, ‘California Dreamin’ and ‘Alice in Instant Wonderland’.

The start of the exhibition includes a typewriter font paragraph by Wenders, explaining how when he first started photography you could only photograph in black and white, and later colour stock was introduced. Wenders explains how he would hold the polaroids under his armpit to keep them warm while they developed, not forgetting to keep an eye on his watch, as holding them there for too long would produce dark pictures, and not long enough and the pictures would look pale and lack contrast.

Wenders’ photographs are so natural and raw, they have a special fleeting beauty about them. There was no editing involved, and no telling how the photo would come out once developed. With Wenders’ photography, every new photo was a delicious new surprise, and viewers get to go through this exciting magical journey with Wenders’ through this exhibition.

Wenders’ film featured is displayed in a small dark room of the gallery, with thick black curtains keeping out any light, much like being under the dark cloth of a view camera, taking viewers back to the mysterious time of the 1800s.

The films shows Wenders traveling while taking photographs of everything he sees and deems beautiful, although he explains how the camera doesn’t always capture the real beauty that the eye is seeing, although a polaroid does create a certain beauty of its own. The film ends with a giant polaroid photo developing on the screen, giving viewers a chance to witness the magic of a polaroid pictures development.

There is so much beauty to take in from every picture on display in this exhibition, with viewers being just as surprised and astounded by each photo as Wenders was when he took them, further creating a special bond between the photographer and the viewers through his photography.

Instant Stories: Wim Wenders’ Polaroids is on at The Photographers Gallery until 11th February 2018.  More information may be found here.

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