Andy Warhol – Analog Selfie
Andy Warhol
© Andy Warhol

“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.” 


” In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. – Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol – Snapshots

Andy Warhol did NOT invent the word “selfie”. And I doubt even an Andy Warhol would have ever thought tens of millions of photographs would be uploaded every single day. But was he really the original purveyor of the selfie?


Andy Warhol
Blondie and John Lennon by © Andy Warhol


I know, he’s not a photographer, per se. And you certainly wouldn’t try to emulate his lighting style. (he had none) But Andy Warhol did  seem to be keeping Polaroid afloat.  (not really,…Polaroid was pretty popular at the time) I don’t know how many polaroids he actually took. I would guess the actual amount would easily approach,… a lot! Enough that it warranted a book by Taschen, “Andy Warhol Polaroids 1958 – 1987”

Now, I’ve already been admonished repeatedly for including Warhol in a photography site. But with the new ‘Polaroid’, (instant film), growing at twice the rate of film photography, (also growing), I felt it was a valid no retouch site avenue to explore. And while Warhols’ technique left a lot to be desired, his content didn’t. Anybody who was anybody during the Warhol/ Interview magazine heyday probably went under the instant film scalpel of Warhol.


Andy Warhol
Mick Jagger and Diana Ross by © Andy Warhol



Andy Warhol was almost pathological in his visually recording almost every aspect of his life, surroundings and encounters. Food, toys, people, animals, gifts,….it was boundless. Almost as if he had to record those bananas, for the eventual day they would cease to exist from the face of the earth. It was rare you saw him from the late 50’s to late 80’s without his Polaroid within easy reach.

While most would admit he was a Pop Art icon, even in life, most people put him in the class of a dilletante when it came to photography. Especially photographers. But like an Instagram selfie is (usually) not great photography, I don’t think that was ever a goal of the artist. (to become a great photographer) Only that events are temporary, people are temporary, surroundings are temporary,…so recording them for posterity seemed only logical, if not a bit OCD.


Andy Warhol
Jean- Michel Basquiat and Arnold Schwarzenegger by © Andy Warhol


Content is King

I guess you could liken him to a modern day selfie taking Kim Kardashian. And while also known as the probable originator
of the ‘selfie’ in analog form, it was really the celebrities he surrounded himself with that were the never ending impetus for ‘more’. The photographs are all quite consistent in their “style”, and I doubt any celebrity viewing them today wouldn’t say, “Those were the days, man.” The pinnacles of lives long gone, but remembered fondly. Thanks to a crazy, obsessive artist.


© Andy Warhol
Truman Capote and Liza Minnelli by © Andy Warhol


What’s Real?

I know you weren’t a “real” photographer,…but we still miss you, Andy. Now,use this as inspiration, and  go out and wow us with some instant pictures.  Make Andy proud! As far as cameras, he mostly used the Polaroid SX-70 and Polaroid Big Shot. I guess if he were still alive he’d probably use the Mint SLR670. The SLR670 is kind of a modern day SX-70. (that you can actually get film for)

His Polaroid book is big, heavy, contains 560 pages and hundreds of pictures,…and is rated 5 stars,….. and worth every penny.  If you’re a photo book collector, get it.




Leave a Reply

Close Menu