The Art Gallery at UNH

International Photo Exhibition at UNH

By Michelle Gregoire
UNH News Bureau

December 19, 2000

DURHAM, N.H. -- "Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography 1947-1997" is an eclectic exhibition opening Saturday, Jan. 27, at The Art Gallery at the University of New Hampshire. Featuring the works of Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Judy Dater, Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney and others, the exhibition celebrates the use of the Polaroid camera as an instrument of art.

This is the only New England showing of this internationally touring exhibition and it runs through Wednesday, April 18, at UNH.

It was in 1944 that the idea of an instant photograph was born. Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, and his young daughter were in New Mexico on vacation. When Land photographed his daughter, she asked him why she could not see the picture immediately. It took Land one hour to visualize a system by which a photograph could develop instantaneously. It would be another three years before the first instant sepia film was introduced to the world.

Since the beginning, the Polaroid Corp. has hired artists to test its film. As a result, Polaroid now has a collection of more than 20,000 images, and it was from this extensive collection the photos exhibited in "Innovation/Imagination" were selected.

"Polaroid photography revolutionized the image-making process, producing a finished image that could be viewed in a matter of seconds, and created a new genre of photography. It radically altered the relationship between photographer and subject," says Deborah Klochko, exhibition curator and director of The Friends of Photography of the Ansel Adams Center for Photography in San Francisco.

In 1955, photographer Ansel Adams gave his opinion of Polaroid's new instant film saying, "Photography is the most virile medium of communication and expression of our time. From the very start I sensed the great potential of this new Polaroid process in all fields of work. It should be thought of as a new and different form in which the elements of selection and careful composition would dominate."

"Innovation/Imagination" explores the evolution of process in the instant photographic medium. Subjects include celebrity portraits, abstract images, stunning landscapes, and documentary-style photographs.

The exhibition has been organized by The Friends of Photography in conjunction with Polaroid Corp. Calumet Photographic is the national sponsor.

The preview reception for "Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography 1947-1997" will be held Thursday, Jan. 25, from 5 to 7 p.m. Opening simultaneously is "Off the Table: The Biennial Exhibition of the New Hampshire Potters Guild." Both exhibitions are sponsored in part by the Friends of The Art Gallery and admission is free.

The ArtBreak series, held Wednesdays at noon, offers related programs, including a slide lecture by Ellen Carey, one of the exhibiting Polaroid photographers.

The Art Gallery in the Paul Creative Arts Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. on the weekends. It is closed Fridays and during university holidays, including March 9-18 and April 15. For more information, call 862-3712 or e-mail

School and group tours can be scheduled by calling 862-3713.

CALENDAR: The Art Gallery, UNH. 862-3712.

EXHIBITION: "Off the Table: The Biennial Exhibition of the New Hampshire Potters Guild," Jan. 27-March 8.

EXHIBITION: "Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography 1947-1997," Jan. 27 - April 18.

PREVIEW RECEPTION: Thursday, Jan. 25, 5-7 p.m.

ARTBREAK SERIES: Wednesdays, noon to 1 p.m., Paul Creative Arts Center.

Jan 31: Discussion with exhibiting artists Jane Kaufmann, Don Williams and Elizabeth Fletcher, N.H. Potters Guild. Room A219.

Feb. 7: Slide lecture by Ellen Carey, exhibiting Polaroid photographer, Room A219.

Feb. 14: Concert celebrating love on Valentine's Day. Phil Hilfiker, saxophone. The Art Gallery.

Feb. 21: Drama: Scenes from "The Memorandum," directed by David Kaye, assistant professor of theatre and dance. The Art Gallery.

Feb. 28: Pottery demonstration: Wheel-throwing techniques demonstrated by exhibiting artist Tim Christensen. Room A219.

March 7: Slide lecture: "Shoals & Tidewater: Thaxter's Island Garden to Tysons' River Garden" by Nancy Wetzel, landscape gardener. Room A219.

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