We’re all obsessed with Instagram these days, but Andy Warhol was snapping photos of his surroundings long before Instagram’s creators were even born. Reuel Golden, editor of Andy Warhol Polaroids 1958–1987, told The Huffington Post;
“Andy was probably the original Instagrammer, in a way. While the artist is well known for consorting with his own posse of Factory kids and superstars, as his films and photographs from the era reveal, he was also socializing with big-name actors, musicians, fashion designers and artists — and documenting every bit of it. This intersection of the private and the public in Warhol’s daily life came to light thanks to the Polaroid camera, which Golden called the “perfect tool for moving between capturing all those different facets.”
Golden’s new book features polaroids by Andy of everyone from Jack Nicholson to Audrey Hepburn, Divine to Jean-Michel Basquiat, Grace Jones to Dolly Parton, and beyond.
Art critic Richard B. Woodward writes in the book’s introduction;
“These portraits signify who was welcome into Warhol’s club, a place at once private, snobbish and hostile to middle-class squares and yet open to scores of outcasts, the prodigiously talented or the merely sensational and anyone making news on the front page or the gossip section of the tabloids.”
“With this celebrity culture these days, a lot of these celebrities have professional retouchers who work on their Instagram account. I think to Warhol that was the very antithesis of what Warhol and his Polaroids in particular represent.” It’s the rawness in his instant photos that separates them from the filtered images of today; the flash bouncing off a slightly out-of-focus Nicholson in mid-sentence; a naked couple in the shower modestly smiling at the camera; Warhol’s mother, Julia Warhola, holding a knife and apple in a messy bedroom wearing only a nightgown and rolled-down leggings.
This unabashed rawness is also present in his selfies. While the concept of a selfie, in and of itself, is wrapped up in pure self-promotion with an inherent air of vanity, Warhol’s were ripe with vulnerability as he posed shirtless, content with exposing his imperfections.”
Well, to be honest, in the day I was a big Polaroid user (I even have a signed Polaroid I shot of Andy!) and this is how I’ve always used Instagram– as my Polaroid “sharing system”. The Square format –which has is NOT just square – lends itself to this.
Andy Warhol Polaroids 1958–1987 is now available at TASCHEN.com.
(via Huffington Post)