William Miller’s Ruined Polaroids are the perfect way to cap off our series on Crossing Territories. Bill’s colorful Rorschach tests, in my eyes seem an homage to Rothko. In scanning and enlarging the image, the damaged, light leaked, tortured SX70 takes on other worldly shapes. Best part? He scans the border and base of the polaroid, so it is a complete portrait of something gone bad so well. I love these prints, they make me smile and brighten my day when I walk by them in the gallery.
From Bill’s artist statement –
With its first use I realized the camera wasn’t functioning properly. It sometimes spills out two pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways. Over time I’ve figured out how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws but the images themselves are always a surprise. Each one is determined by the idiosyncrasies of the film and the camera.
This project, Ruined Polaroids, is an unintended exploration into the three-dimensional physical character of an antiquated photographic medium that touches on subjects from the artistic value of chance, to questions of what constitutes a photograph. I say unintended because what I’m focusing on here is a technological anomaly. The failure of a process.