While we’re completely blown away when we see paintings that look like pictures, we’re even more excited when we come across pictures that look like paintings! Such is this set, called Painted Ladies, by Barbara Cole. The self-taught photographer not only challenges our reality, she does it all using Polaroid film!
“I fell in love with Polaroid film sometime late in 1987,” Cole says. “I had been experimenting with the Polaroid Spectra camera and Tungsten light and I loved the mood that its warm colours and creamy palette evoked. In the end, however, it proved too difficult to work within the limitations of this simple point and shoot camera and I abandoned it.
“In late 1993, I happened upon a wonderful painting by Lucien Freud. It was of a heavyset man, seated on the floor, pictured from behind. I had a strong and immediate connection to its simplicity of line and quality of light. The image began to haunt me. It seemed to cross the line between painting and photography. I began to re-examine my approach to figurative portraiture. A friend at Polaroid had given me an SX-70 camera some years earlier. Having seen Freud’s painting, I re-considered its possibilities.
“After some exploration, I found someone who was able to adapt the SX-70 camera to work with my studio lighting and techniques. Then, I carefully manipulated the surface image to add dimension and introduce a painterly quality I loved. Alas, Polaroid – the company, the film, the cameras are out of business. I’m so grateful I was able to experience the Polaroid magic it when I could!”