“You couldn’t help feeling that you had stolen this image-object from the world.”
This is an absolute MUST for all Wim Wenders fans. The Photographers’ Gallery in London presents ‘Instant Stories’ – the polaroids of the cult director.
On two floors visitors get captivated by a foreign world: In his polaroids Wim Wenders’ film reality merges with observations and roadtrips, private sensations with set photography. And it is amazing to see how strongly the development of instant photography inspired Wenders from the outset. In fact that inspiration went as far as that two important movies of his early oeuvre – ‘Alice in the cities’ and ‘The American friend’ made the polaroid camera an important prop, if not one of the protagonists!
Alice in the cities (1974) – the portrait of a journalist disappointed by the American Dream again and again captures how the main character Philip Winter is making use of the polaroid camera – to capture a moment, to fight back, making visual notes for a future reportage about the American landscape… The foldable instant camera of the movie was in fact the prototype of one of the first cameras of that type and was used on and off the film set.
The American friend (1977) – a dark literature adoption of ‘Ripley’s Game’ by Patricia Highsmith. In one of the key scenes with the ruthless Ripley a polaroid camera plays an important role.
But what makes the exhibition unique, besides presenting the polaroids very upscale in a classical juxtaposition, is the exclusive audio guide with Wenders very own voice. He is a great storyteller and weaves the photos into a beautiful carpet consisting of memories, obsessions, spicy details and his view on the world, film and photography. This concept, just lacking his voice, can be carried home in the form of a catalogue.