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Wim Wenders on Polaroid and Photography

Filmmaker Wim Wenders, a fellow Polaroid lover, speaks frankly about Polaroids and photography in the 21st century in this article from The Guardian. In 2017 he collected his remaining Polaroids and mounted an exhibition, Instant Stories.

So Instant Stories is also an elegy for the Polaroid itself, and all it stood for. “At the time, it was part of everyday life, another thing you used for living – like food and air and the stinky cars we were driving and the cigarettes everyone was smoking. Today, making a Polaroid is just a process.”

He sighs and rubs his eyes. “The culture has changed. It has all gone. I really don’t know why we stick to the word photography any more. There should be a different term, but nobody cared about finding it.”

Wenders, too, now regards photography as a thing of the past. “It’s not just the meaning of the image that has changed – the act of looking does not have the same meaning. Now, it’s about showing, sending and maybe remembering. It is no longer essentially about the image. The image for me was always linked to the idea of uniqueness, to a frame and to composition. You produced something that was, in itself, a singular moment. As such, it had a certain sacredness. That whole notion is gone.”

Want to hear about it in his own words? Watch this.

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