What a sketch is for the painter is a Polaroid for the photographer, namely the first formulation of a concept, the raw material of the imagination, as it were. When Helmut Newton published a selection of his Polaroids in Pola Woman in 1992, the subculture called it a stroke of genius. It was the first time that the master let people look directly over his shoulder. We became witnesses to the magic and often intense process by which erotic fantasies become finished images; the preliminary stages of a perfectly styled Newton photograph. It is remarkable, if not astonishing, that even this “raw material” possesses very original qualities and a charm of its own.
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