The Boston Globe has reported that Polaroid Corp., the Massachusetts company that gave the world instant film photography, is shutting down its film manufacturing lines in the state and abandoning the technology that made the company a cultural and artistic icon. Read it here.
As has been feared for a number of years, the unique qualities that only the direct-image instant film maker can provide will soon disappear completely. This is not shocking news to the general consumer - Polaroid pulled its hand held cameras and film cartridges from the shelves a couple of years ago. But it is important to artists who have relied on the large format film.
Affected will be the one-of-a-kind photographs of Joachim Knill. Although Polaroid has a large format camera, Joachim constructed his own instant film camera that is even larger! No one else has one. And no one else elevates this format to the levels Joachim does.
Over the last two years, we have seen a steady rise in popularity (and price) of Joachim's work. He is no longer an underground artist found only in outdoor art fairs around the country and followed only by the savviest of collectors. At Migration, we have been delighting a wide audience with Joachim's work: We had a one man show in January 2007; Attendees of Charlottesville wildly popular Photography Festival marveled at his work; And, it was a singular hit in our November Photography Invitational. We have also featured Joachim at international art fairs such as SOFA Chicago and artDC (Lenny Campello noted Joachim's work at artDC last year and wrote, "Migration from Charlottesville seemed to be doing well at the fair, and had several huge Polaroids by Swiss installation-photographer-wizard Joachim Knill which were some of my favorites in the whole fair."). Needless to say, Joachim has received great acclaim from all levels of critics and collectors.
But, the day we all knew was coming has come... Polaroid will soon cease to produce the medium on which Joachim works. What does this mean? The obvious is that Joachim will find a new way to present his concepts - and we can't wait to see what it will be. It also means his current work will be more collectible.
If you have considered adding a Joachim Knill to your collection, I think it is safe to say now is a very good time to act. Contact us at Migration and we will be happy to work with you.
Images include: Top, Joachim with his camera. Middle, Tomato Crossing. Bottom left, Liberty. Bottom center, Poor Man's Still Life. Bottom right, Mask.