Dan Howell's picture

Burlesque Star On Polaroid 20 x 24

Portrait of neo-Burlesque star Julee Atlas Muz of NYC shot on the mammoth Polaroid 20"x24" camera at the Polaroid Studio when it was still operating. The original capture comes out of the camera as a one-of-a-kind positive print similar to other formats of Polaroid material. Photographers like William Wegman and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders are noted for the use of this camera in their work.

I had the opportunity to work with the Polaroid 20x24 for one-half day and had hoped to make it into a longer series of portraits of my friends who were key members of the NYC burlesque community. I have photographed many of the top performers over the years for magazines and personal projects and drew on those connections to arrange for three performers to work with me in front of the ultra-large format camera.

If I remember correctly, each exposure cost $75 so I was highly motivated to work together with the performer to capture their essence in a small number of captures. I wanted the overall feel to be a mix of retro pin-up style and noir portraiture. I think this capture best illustrates that.

The image here is a rephotographing of the original print. The quality of the image has the contrast and saturation that is expected from well exposed Polaroid material. The studio manager of the Polaroid Studio assisted greatly on the shoot.

The main light is a beauty dish powered by a Broncolor head; the additional light on hair and cheek is from a Broncolor head with grid.

Polaroid 20"x24
f/45 · ISO 100
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