Have you ever seen a Polaroid photo-booth?
Goodbipolaroid is a series of self-portraits made in multiple exposure Polaroid photo-booths from 2004 through 2010. They are taken entirely in-camera; no cutting or Photoshop. The camera has four lenses that each expose a quarter of the picture with up to 30 seconds between shots.
The series is a multi-faceted exploration of duality and reconciliation, exploring the tensions between opposing aspects of the camera and film, the location and process of making the images, and the formal and conceptual content of the photos.
Photo-booths were essentially the precursor to Polaroids; the advent of the instantly available portrait. The original booths were self-contained darkrooms, while almost all new photo-booths are digital. The Polaroid photo-booth references the place Polaroid film holds on the arc of technological evolution in photography. It was then what digital is now.
The pictures themselves map the evolution of my relationship with the medium and with myself. At first trying to reconcile the four quarter shots into a single face, then to make series that related to one another, moving to two profiles of myself interacting, introducing other people and backgrounds, and moving the narrative toward illustrating the contrary and sometimes volatile inner dialogue.
Another aspect of the series is the juxtaposition of public and private space. Since these booths were made for the commercial amusement industry, they are generally found in public spaces. Many of these photos were taken in bars, so I would go into a bar full of people socializing, and go sit by myself in a little booth and take pictures of myself talking to myself.
The unusual 4”x4” size, format, and specific mechanics of the camera mean that no more film is to be made for these booths. The last production run was in early 2008, and almost all the film was bought up by the vendors that have them in bars and arcades or rent them out for parties.
I have been contacted by a salesperson who told me there is an “upgrade” kit available to convert my booth. It will produce four shots in a strip (not quadrants) and it will be digital. Which makes it doubly useless to me, which is not that easy to do.
At present there are forty-five pieces; some are single shots, some are full series. They are floated on black backgrounds in white frames with museum glass.