Wim Wenders’ Polaroids shows us the personal and previously unseen Polaroid work of German filmmaker Wim Wenders. Whilst his larger photographic works are well known, this is the first time he has shown a selection of the many thousands of Polaroid photographs taken, between the late 1960s and mid 1980s. Wenders’ fascination with the Polaroid form stems from his early adoption of the format while he was learning the craft of film-making. Polaroids operated as a visual notebook, a way of testing out frames and ideas, but more than that they offered him a kind of liminal space between the subject and the photograph, the photographer and the act of taking a photo, the intention and the outcome.
Instant Stories presents over 200 of Wenders’ Polaroids encompassing portraits of cast and crew, friends and family, behind-the scenes, still-lives, street-photography and landscapes. Alongside diary-like impressions and homages to his artistic inspirations, including Fassbinder and Warhol, the small format images take us on a literal and metaphoric journey through Europe and the US. From his first trip to New York, his fascination with American TV, from rooftops (he’d never been so high up before), shop-fronts, roads, cars and many other visual recordings, Wenders’ Polaroids reflect a distinctive and lyrical vision – at once both intimate and portentous. The exhibition will also feature a selection of moving images from his films, reflecting moments in Wenders’ canon, where Polaroid cameras and still photographs form a vital part of the narrative, such as the photo-obsessed protagonist in Alice in the Cities (1974).
The Photographer’s Gallery
16-18 Ramillies St, Soho London W1F 7LW United Kingdom
October 20, 2017 to February 11, 2018