A Mesmerizing Look at the Process of Shooting a 20x24 Polaroid

What does it take to make an image with an ultra-large format 20x24 Polaroid? This strangely hypnotizing video by 20x24-Berlin takes us through the process from start to finish for a much needed moment of zen.

The 20x24 Polaroid has been the camera of choice for some of the world's most famous photographers and artists, including Chuck Close, William Wegman, Ellen Carey, and RANKIN, to name a few.

Something I love about this video is the intimate feel of the preparation and laborious physical nature of setting the camera up for capture. It's clear that a substantial amount of technical knowledge and maybe a little horse sense are required to get the camera ready for a successful capture.

There were only five original 20x24 Polaroid cameras made as well as one prototype, including "#5," currently housed in Berlin, as seen in the video. The only other working original 20x24 Polaroid is in New York. Originally, the 20x24 was made by Edwin Land to demo the new release of Polacolor 8x10. According to 20x24 Berlin's history of the camera, Land thought that a 20x24 image would better demonstrate the new film's characteristics from a distance.

I've been fascinated with the 20x24 Polaroid for years. Weighing 235 lbs, it is an imposing camera and is capable of producing strangely beautiful prints. There are so many subtleties to the image that are created as a result of the handling and developing process that each print is totally unique. Each direct positive print is a true original, something not typically associated with photographic prints.

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3 Comments

That is amazing!

I am always fascinated by the steam-punk-like modern-ish field cameras.

Barry Stewart's picture

That's my next camera, amazing to watch.

Dan Howell's picture

Polaroid had a studio in NYC and would periodically offer special introductory rates. I took advantage of one of these to shoot portraits of 3 burlesque performers. I can't remember the exact costs but I do remember that additional exposures were $75 each. I still have them.