Monday, November 06, 2006

Instant Gratification

I have taken Polaroid photographs of myself since 1996. I use them as raw material for my paintings. When a pose is too awkward to hold, study in a mirror and draw, I take a Polaroid (using a rubbishy, plastic, point-and-shoot Sun 600 camera). I take Polaroids of my face from angles that I can't see in a mirror, so I can examine the differences of expression. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I capture something fleeting, something unlikely to be revealed in a mere reflection.
I hadn't shown anyone these 'instant pictures' until I showed them to my boyfriend about a year ago. I'd never looked at them all together. Once an image had served its purpose to develop an idea for a painting, it was thown in with scores of others I kept in a garbage bag at the back of whatever closet I was using as a store-room.
It was my boyfriend, a photographer, who got me to look at them again. I was surprised to discover just how intriguing and revelatory they are. My poses in them are always unselfconsciously angular and a little absurd, as are the skimpy, mismatched clothes that are my usual work attire. The backgrounds are relentlessly banal and suburban: a makeshift studio, my bedroom, the living room of my father's Melbourne house. In some ways, they're the truest record of my life – and the raw beginnings of my art – that I've got.
If you're curious, a very small selection of them can be found at Polanoid, under the username hazeldooney.

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