Not pictured: pointless shaking of developing photo
April 16, 2017 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Nine Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror, by William Anastasi.
posted by cortex (40 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Only possible with the invention of the instant print camera...

I... don't think that's true.
posted by logicpunk at 10:49 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Well you could do that with normal film but you'd have to develop and print between each step so it be possible but would take a few days of work.
posted by octothorpe at 10:55 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Relevant.
posted by lawrencium at 10:56 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Oh and very cool find. I'm (hopefully) getting the kickstarted JollyLook Instax camera in a few months, maybe I'll try to remake this shot.
posted by octothorpe at 10:58 AM on April 16


So simple and yet so complex.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:10 AM on April 16


On looking at it more, it would be a such a pain in the butt to get the math right for this. He needed to be just the right distance from the mirror so that the original shot covered 3x3 times the area of a single print and right in the center of the middle print so that there wouldn't be any parallax. I'm guessing that he went through a bunch of packs of film before he got this sequence right.
posted by octothorpe at 11:13 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


I liked this image much more before I read the curator's "explanation"...
posted by twsf at 11:17 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


I liked this image much more before I read the curator's "explanation"...

It problematized my enjoyment of the art as well
posted by thelonius at 11:29 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


I used to be a professional photographer, and, just looking at the way his tripod is set up? Man, that Hasselblad (if it is a Hasselblad) is in significant danger. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't fall and sustain serious damage. Shouldn't we be paying more attention to the exploitation of cameras?

Also, my roommate is a photography student. He doesn't need any more ideas. But this one is a doozy. He wishes he had come up with it first.
posted by valkane at 11:34 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what camera that is, but it doesn't look like a Hasselblad, at least not a 500 series.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 11:43 AM on April 16


I'm guessing that he went through a bunch of packs of film

Rolls, more likely. Not 100% sure, Polaroid did a lot of different cameras over the years, but looks like some version of the classic Polaroid 95, which predates the packs.

(I think you might be overstating the complexity a bit, though; finding the center of a mirror is trivial, and if you look at larger scans the individual images aren't that precise. The viewfinder was supposedly accurate down to a few feet, if properly adjusted, but as you say he probably had to experiment a bit to find the right distance. Probably took longer to find a mirror of the right size, though. Or add an extra frame to an existing mirror :-)
posted by effbot at 11:46 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there's an instagram filter for that.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:07 PM on April 16


Metaphotography on Metafiler - Yeah, we got that!
posted by Samizdata at 12:43 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


On looking at it more, it would be a such a pain in the butt to get the math right for this. He needed to be just the right distance from the mirror so that the original shot covered 3x3 times the area of a single print and right in the center of the middle print so that there wouldn't be any parallax.

The way to do it is to measure a single print, multiple both dimensions by 3, and get and frame a mirror that size. Positioning your camera so that the subject fills the frame correctly is not really any different from what you have to do to compose any other picture.
posted by aubilenon at 12:50 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


My first apartment out on my own I took a picture of the living room wall with a cheap 110 film camera then hung it on the wall, then took a picture of that and then changed out the frame for the new pic (in 1997 before Photoshop).
posted by Burhanistan at 1:00 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


octothorpe:...it would be a such a pain in the butt to get the math right for this ... I'm guessing that he went through a bunch of packs of film before he got this sequence right.
The "frame" of the mirror doesn't appear in the first shot. It may well just be a paper, cardboard, or photo mat cutout, sized to frame 3x3 of the prints, taped to the face of a larger mirror.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:19 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Anyone who doesn't see the correlation between this and Menger sponges and why cortex posted this is BLIND!
posted by hippybear at 2:53 PM on April 16 [8 favorites]


The next iteration of this is for your child to take a picture of his- or herself and taking a picture every year in the mirror holding all the pictures of your child taking a picture of his- or herself.

Good luck training an infant to operate your camera.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:00 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Hipster parental challenge in 5...4...3...2...1!
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:00 PM on April 16


Proper title should be "129 Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror"

> Polaroid did a lot of different cameras over the years, but looks like some version of the classic Polaroid 95, which predates the packs.

I think it's the Polaroid Pathfinder 110A
posted by ardgedee at 3:01 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


The next iteration of this is for your child to take a picture of his- or herself and taking a picture every year in the mirror holding all the pictures of your child taking a picture of his- or herself.

Who are you? Richard Linklater?
posted by hippybear at 3:15 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


At work I have a 40-inch 4K TV set serving as a computer monitor on a rather busy and cluttered desktop. The Windows 10 pre-logon image is a picture of that desk with the monitor on it showing the Windows desktop with numerous programs running. Several people have asked where the camera *is* thinking it's a real-time image for some reason.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:18 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


I think it's the Polaroid Pathfinder 110A

Yeah I think it's one of the 110's - I've been drooling over 110's with Instax backs lately.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:21 PM on April 16


I think it's the Polaroid Pathfinder 110A

Sure looks like it. I looked for the viewfinder enclosure to the left, but of course it's on the other side.
posted by effbot at 3:23 PM on April 16


Proper title should be "129 Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror"

I briefly contemplated adding a "okay, but how many reaaaally" quiz to the framing of the post but I wasn't willing to actually do the math myself and so didn't feel okay about it. But my gut instinct is that, if we're speaking strictly of images (however wee and unresolvable) of polaroids in the main image, the number is a great deal higher than that.
posted by cortex at 3:50 PM on April 16


Proper title should be "129 Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror"

But how many pictures were taken pointing away from St. Ives?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:00 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking there were Ten Photographs of a Mirror.
posted by rlk at 4:02 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Blah. I can't math. 512 photographs.
posted by ardgedee at 4:05 PM on April 16


The artist did it wrong. They should have started in the top left corner, proceeding in a clockwise spiral, leaving the center for last.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 4:08 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: The artist did it wrong
posted by chavenet at 4:09 PM on April 16 [41 favorites]


Is this the thread where the closeted Polaroid users all come out? Because I've been blowing through two to three packs of Impossible Project film a week (and then scanning the photo on my iphone right after, turning my Polaroid cameras into essentially the world's most expensive and inefficient Instagram filters) and I approve of this endeavor.
posted by zippy at 5:59 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Just bumped "go through big box of Polaroid cameras" to the top of the to-do list.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:39 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I just got a Polaroid Land 125 recently in a thrift shop and got it working, it's my first experience with pack film, and... boy do I wish I got into pack film before Fuji discontinued FP-100C, this hobby's starting at $2 a shot and will only get more expensive.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:13 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Art is what you can get away with. - Andy Warhol
posted by yoga at 4:28 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Art is what you can get away with. - Andy Warhol

"Go fuck yourself, Andy." - Probably Bill Anastasi, at some point. (Two drawings, made by Bill, on the subway, on trips to see my dad.)
posted by The Bellman at 7:26 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


The requisite soundtrack for this viewing, of course.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:18 PM on April 17


I briefly contemplated adding a "okay, but how many reaaaally" quiz to the framing of the post but I wasn't willing to actually do the math myself and so didn't feel okay about it. But my gut instinct is that, if we're speaking strictly of images (however wee and unresolvable) of polaroids in the main image, the number is a great deal higher than that.

I'm trying not to think about UK politics, so: I think there are 511. Each step only adds a duplicate. Top right picture shows 4 for example, including itself. 1 + 2 + 4 etc, last one adds 256 to the running total.
posted by lokta at 3:12 AM on April 19


I broke down and mathed it too, and I have gotten both your number and ardge's number because I waver on whether to count the actual photograph itself as one of the photographs. I think one should? And yet it feels different in kind than the others, so maybe one shouldn't?

There's also the argument that it's 513 because someone at the museum took a picture of the final picture, but (a) they almost certainly didn't use a polaroid, and (b) it's not like we call a picture of Water Lillies "a photograph and some water lillies" so at this point I'm just being silly.

Or possibly conceptual in a way that someone beat me to 60 years ago, etc.
posted by cortex at 7:14 AM on April 19


Like, ultimately it comes down to what the title of our mathy alternative work is, I guess.

The original is "Nine Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror", and it's a picture of nine polaroid exposures laid out in a 3x3 matrix covering the whole surface of the mirror. We could assume or not that the final photograph, of that matrix, is also a polaroid, but even if so it's not counted in the title, or it'd be "Ten Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror". So Anastasi is excluding the framing photo from the content of the work, it seems like.

In which case, we could call our literal version "Five Hundred and Eleven Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror" by similarly excluding the framing photo from the count.

But maybe what Anastasi is counting isn't the actual physical instant photos, but the acts of photography; he's not telling us what's in the picture, but instead what he was doing when the picture was being made. In which case, our retitling shouldn't actually change; it might be photographs of 511 polaroids, but it'd still be nine photographic decisions in front of a mirror.

(Or maybe Anastasi doesn't exclude the framing photograph as different because it's a framing photograph; maybe he just doesn't count it as a photograph of a mirror because after laying down the ninth instant exposure in the matrix, this tenth and final photograph doesn't get any mirror in it as the mirror's wholly obscured.)

So should we retitle it "A Photograph Of 511 Images Of Polaroid Photographs Involving A Mirror"? Or...
posted by cortex at 7:56 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


88 polaroids about 44 mirrors
posted by zippy at 1:13 PM on April 19


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