Last year’s August saw the printing of prolific NYC-based photographer Richard Kern’s photo book, consisting of rarely seen polaroids documenting the Big Apple’s streets during the ’80s and ’90s. The images, which consisted predominantly of portraits and cityscapes, are a candid portrayal–a time stamp if you will–of what real life was like during those decades, in a place where sub-cultural change couldn’t have happened faster anywhere else in the world.
“Now using Polaroid as a medium is to me like someone using film, it’s done only to add an effect to a photograph.”
The polaroids are also a showcasing of Kern’s early work as a photographer, a time where he would take his pictures and turn them into personal zine’s which he used name with titles such as “The Heroin Addict” and “The Valium Addict.” As for choosing the medium of Polaroid, Kern explains to Dazed Digital that “digital photography eliminated the need to (take) a polaroid test shot. Pros used Polaroids to instantly see what the light setup looked like.” As for today, Kern adds “Now using Polaroid as a medium is to me like someone using film, it’s done only to add an effect to a photograph.”
While the aforementioned book, officially dubbed Polarized in collaboration with Fortnight Gallery and Victoria Press, saw its release during last week’s LA Art Book Fair, the images are now available online for us fans to enjoy. Check out a few excerpts throughout, and make sure you check out more of Richard Kerns work here.