Andy Warhol, Barack Obama And Bentley Motors – The World’s Largest Polaroid Camera
The creation of the Polaroid 20×24 Land Camera is a landmark in the evolution of photography. Only five camera’s were built in 1976/77 by the company to demonstrate the quality of its film products. Not really sure of how successful the results, the technicians in the company used their imagination and know-how to build a camera that was results driven and not concerned with aesthetics. When first used to take portraits of share holders, the instant photographs it produced were stunningly detailed and soon the camera was being used to copy oil paintings and tapestries in museums. Polaroid thought to approach artists like AndyWarhol to use the camera, requesting them to donate a photograph to the Polaroid collection in return.
To be photographed by this iconic camera is an experience in itself. Standing over five feet tall it arrives with a camera operator who understands all the creaking and cranking during the process. The ninety-second wait to see the negative sheet being pulled back is like waiting for Christmas, it’s magical, or at least chemistry at its best. Acclaimed photographers such as Chuck Close have captured world leaders such as President Barack Obama on the camera. Mary Ellen Mark has taken the camera to the college prom, capturing American students on their night of celebration. Zenon Texeira from Opus has taken the camera to the Louvre to capture Vivienne Westwood and her models at Paris Fashion show. Today however, over fifty years on, film for this camera is scarce as a digital solution offers a far more reliable option for photographers around the world. The beauty of the analogue photograph has been overshadowed by the cheaper easier pixel solution which has resulted in the cease of instant film production for this special camera several years ago.
The 20×24 Land Camera is soon to be a photographic dinosaur, to be admired as an exhibit for it’s part in history. But before this happens, with a few clicks left of the treasured film, Opus, who are creating and collaborating with Bentley Motors on the Bentley Centenary Opus project are bringing the only operational camera in Europe to the historic Bentley Motors factory in Crewe to capture the ‘portraits’ of it’s most iconic landmark motor cars from the past 100 years. The final Polaroids will be used exclusively in a special chapter within the forthcoming Bentley Centenary Opus limited edition.
The unique photo shoot sees the marriage of technical brilliance and imagination from both the 1970’s team at Polaroid, creativity of Opus, and the men and women of Bentley… to truly celebrate the passion of those who dared to build and dream.
This will be the very first and indeed last time that the worlds largest Polaroid camera is used to photograph motor cars and thus a little piece of of extraordinary history being made at Bentley Motors in Crewe.