The Camera

The Polaroid 20x24 camera is a very large instant camera made by Polaroid, with film plates that measure 20 inches by 24 inches. It is the largest format cameras currently in common usage. Many well-known photographers have used this heavy 235-pound (106 kg), wheeled-chassis camera.

The election for this Polaroid camera medium for Vanitas lies in the uniqueness of each edition.  This camera does not produce a negative or positive from which copies can be printed.  Each Polaroid photograph is - just as each painting was - an original.  And, therefore, the "memento mori", may lie in the fact that they, like an original painting, are also subject to transience.

Worldwide are still five cameras active.  In Europe only one.  The 20x24in (50x60cm) Polaroids are condsidered as ‚highly collectable’.



The Photo Series VANITAS

VANITAS reflects the style and form of still life paintings of the 17th century and puts them into a new context.  Superficially, the photographs mirror that classic painting style.  The light, subjects and picture composition generate a similar aesthetic atmosphere.

The paintings of that era carried symbolic messages.  The present-day observer of a still life painting from the 17th century can only guess the theoretical meaning of its signs and symbols.  A lemon peel had another meaning 300 years ago - perhaps it represented the bitterness of life in those times.  A "memento mori", a reminder of death, symbolized by the stag beetle, almost always lay hidden in these paintings.  Human traits and vanities were represented through reflected images on a broken piece of plate-glass or in the fleeting surface reflection on vases.  The paintings often reflected the existential questions of being, religion, philosophy, history and also the symbols and signs of social changes. As times changed so did the interpretation of these symbols.

In exactly the same concept, Vanitas presents images that push the gate open to view the symbols of our generation with messages unique to our times.  Vanitas points the observer to the textual references of the finiteness of life by integrating such modern elements as chainsaws, the Statue of Liberty and a knocked-over bust of John F. Kennedy. They stand in the middle of the artistic background as they did in the still life painting of the 17th century.

These modern elements hide in the composition waiting to be discovered.  The observer is virtually drawn into the picture to interpret its message.  The large format not only awakens interest but it makes the voyage of discovery possible in detail.