Fran DeRespinis: Before Instagram There Was Polaroid

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About the Exhibition 

print with polaroid camera“You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” is an often-heard refrain by one of photography’s masters, Ansel Adams. You press the shutter and use darkroom techniques to make the final result, a photographic print. In today’s digital era, that same process is used, but with software such as Photoshop or Lightroom to make the photographic print or online digital representation.

Edwin Land (1909-91), American scientist and inventor, had a different perspective. Best known for his invention of in-camera instant photography, Land brought the take to the forefront  of photography, and the rest is history. His crowning achievement was  Polaroid SX-70 film and cameras, which created instant, square, color photographs. The SX-70 was extremely successful in the marketplace, with famous artists such as David Hockney, Walker Evans, Andy Warhol, and even Ansel Adams using this magical instrument to create their art.

Today, there is a resurgence of interest in instant camera photography using new cameras from Fuji, Lomography, and Mint, and refurbished, original Polaroid SX-70 cameras.

This exhibit comprises Polaroid SX-70 images I took in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. However, they are not the original. In a nod to our digital era, I’ve scanned the photos and used minimal software processing, remaining faithful to the unique, sometimes unpredictable, and less-than-perfect color rendering of the original Polaroid prints. Each is printed the same size as the original camera-produced images, to be viewed as they were intended.

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    For David Hockney


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    Lady in Red


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    Just Hangin'


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    Against the Wall


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    Boy in Blue


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    Freddy Gets Ready


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    Julio Holds His Breath


About the Artist

Artist Fran DeRespinis Fran DeRespinis is a NC-based photographer and educator. He first took family photos with his father’s Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid Land cameras, moving on to 35mm and medium-format film cameras in college, photographing campus politics and life on the streets of New York City. Today, Fran photographs with digital cameras and a vintage Polaroid SX-70 camera.

Though he considers himself a “generalist,” Fran is best known for his photos of urban portraits, city landscapes, and the odd and quirky of the street. His early influences include Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson and Helen Levitt.

Fran studied at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY.

He has exhibited his work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Woodstock NY, Miami and Boca Raton FL, Providence RI, Vienna, VA, Kokomo, IN, and throughout the Research Triangle Park, NC. As a member of the Capital City Camera Club of Raleigh NC, he was named Photographer of the year in 2015 and currently exhibits with The Image Salon, a Triangle-based group of fine art photographers.

To learn more about DeRespinis and his work, visit his online portfolio.