These Polaroids by noted German director Wim Wenders will take you back to the ’70s

An exhibition at London’s The Photographers’ Gallery will showcase the German-born Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s Polaroid-specific work which comprises behind-the-scenes pictures of his cast and crews, among others.

art and culture Updated: Oct 19, 2017 14:48 IST
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Wim Wenders, Self-portrait, 1975.(Courtesy Wim Wenders Foundation)

Wim Wenders, the internationally renowned figure of New German Cinema, has been celebrated for films including Paris Texas in 1984 and Wings of Desire in 1987 (respectively winning him the Palme d’Or and best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, among other accolades).

Although his larger photographic works are well-known and exhibited, this is the first time he has shown a selection from his thousands of Polaroid photographs. The exhibition “Instant Stories” presents over 200 of Wenders’ diary-like visuals, shot both on and off location between the late 1960s and mid-1980s. The snapshots encompass portraits and behind-the scenes of cast and crew from his film productions, as well as friends and family, still-lives, street photography, and landscapes. The moments span from his first trip to New York to his experience on the open road.

Wim Wenders, On the Road to New England, 1972. (Courtesy Deutsches Filminstitut Frankfurt a.M.)

There are some recognizable faces, like a snapshot of Dennis Hopper from 1976, behatted and having a smoke, and there are homages to his artistic inspirations (like Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Andy Warhol. The images are often a means for him of testing out frames and visual ideas.

“The entire Polaroid process had nothing to do with our contemporary experience,” Wenders mused in his artist’s book for “Instant Stories.” “Then, you produced and owned ‘an original!’ Not a copy, not a print, not multipliable, not repeatable… You had transferred a piece of the past into the present.”

Wim Wenders, New York Parade, 1972. (Courtesy Wim Wenders Foundation)

The exhibition will also feature a selection of moving images from his films where Polaroid cameras and still photographs form a vital part of the narrative -- notably the photo-obsessed protagonist in “Alice in the Cities,” a black-and-white movie released in 1974 as part of his Road Trilogy (the trailer even starts with a Polaroid snapshot).

“Instant Stories. Wim Wenders’ Polaroids” is a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery, C|O Berlin and the Wim Wenders Foundation; it is on view at the former between October 20,2017 and February 11, 2018. See more pics:

Wim Wenders, Dennis Hopper, 1976. (Courtesy Deutsches Filminstitut Frankfurt a.M.)
Wim Wenders, Sydney. (Courtesy Wim Wenders Foundation)

First Published: Oct 19, 2017 14:39 IST