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Gary Blackman – In The Hand, Polaroid SX70's, 1978–2004

Gary Blackman – In The Hand, Polaroid SX70's, 1978–2004

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  • Fri 16 Aug, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
  • Sat 17 Aug, 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • Mon 19 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 20 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 21 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 22 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 23 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 24 Aug, 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • Mon 26 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 27 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 28 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 29 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 30 Aug, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 31 Aug, 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • Mon 2 Sep, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 3 Sep, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 4 Sep, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 5 Sep, 11:00am – 5:00pm
  • View all sessions


Brett McDowell Gallery, 5 Dowling St, Dunedin


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

In 1972 the Polaroid Corporation released its SX-70 camera and integral print film which, within a few minutes of pressing the button and without further intervention by the photographer, created a colour print in full daylight. This astonishing process not only captured the public imagination, it also attracted seriously inclined photographers and artists who saw its potential as a means of expression. The 8cm square image, framed within a white plastic surround, and with its enamel-like surface and distinct colour quality, was in the hand a unique object to be treasured like a small icon or magically coloured daguerreotype. And curious photographers soon discovered and exploited the initial susceptibility of the image to manual manipulation.

SX-70 cameras arrived in New Zealand in 1973–4. I bought a used camera in 1978 and relished the experience of seeing a full colour image emerge within minutes before my eyes, potentially a work of art in miniature. The square format suited me. The challenge was to create imaginative images within a small compass. By 1977 SX-70 photos were being shown in photo galleries in New Zealand, and soon in one or two public galleries—in 1982 the National Art Gallery invited Janet Bayly, Zane Zusters and me to show SX-70s under the title Polaroids. Instant photography had been established as a niche medium of photography. At the end of 2003 McNamara Gallery surveyed the Polaroid SX-70 in New Zealand by exhibiting work dating from 1977 by 13 photographers in a show entitled Tracing Polaroid SX-70. This survey did not foresee the obsolescence of this form of instant photography when in 2008 Polaroid ceased making SX-70 print film 36 years after its introduction. Thus, as with other innovations in photographic technology, an era of photography has ended: the era of Polaroid SX-70 instant photography. - Gary Blackman.

In The Hand - Polaroids, 1978 - 2004 is Gary Blackman's sixth exhibition at Brett McDowell Gallery.

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