Stefanie Schneider was born in Germany in 1968. I guess you can call her the High Priestess of Polaroid. An artist who has made the Polaroid image her life’s work. Living in both Berlin and Los Angeles, Schneider’s photographs exhibit the appearance of expired Polaroid instant film with all it’s emulsion variations taken advantage of. In fact, the Impossible Project credits her with inspiring the company into existence.
From a Polaroid Captiva Springs Art
Originally armed with just a Polaroid Captiva in 1996, (remember those?), and later a Polaroid SX-70, her work has been featured as cover art for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cyndi Lauper. Her books include “Stranger than Paradise” and “29 Palms, Ca”. While I prefer the Polaroid SE-600, the SX-70 was quite popular in it’s day, and the expired film for it was dirt cheap. Like 50 cents a pack just a few years ago!
She use to have a lot of exhibits of her enlarged work, but with a library of 20,000+ images, enlarging it all would take 3 lifetimes. Amazingly, she has images that have mellowed like fine wine, displaying the different eras of all the different films she’s used over the years. From black and white Spectra to modern day Impossible Project film.
A Desert Epiphany
While she shot images in Berlin, it was southern California and the golden desert light and backdrops that inspired her work. It was an important time in her developing a style that screamed L.A. and youthful vigor. It’s when an artist finds a new direction never before traveled. She never considered the Polaroid a ‘family thing’, but always an art thing.
But no matter how deep society embraces a digital world, she realizes now that people want to connect again. Facebook and Twitter are fleeting and devoid of touch. Do we want 10 real friends or 1000 cyberspace friends? That’s a decision that each person makes for themselves. But the phenomena of Instax and Impossible is proof positive that touching and holding things may never go out of style.
Her work still permeates with almost a “Dennis Hopper, S. California” feel. More Americana than even an most Americans can produce. And from a German! Visit her site below and check out her books. And thanks to Fujifilms, the Impossible Project, and inspiration from artists like Stefanie Schneider, instant film will be in our lives for the foreseeable future.