Polaroid Possibilities – The Art & Photography of John Reuter

This is a solo exhibition in the Community Gallery of Polaroid Possibilities: The Art & Photography of John Reuter. This exhibitions presents John’s innovative and experimental work with Polaroid materials. The work included surveys John’s SX-70 Constructions, Polacolor Image Transfers and his work with the Polaroid 20×24 Camera. Polaroid Possibilities will be presented concurrently with Dare alle Luce by Ralph Mercer. 

Polaroid Possibilities – The Art & Photography of John Reuter
On View:
 Thursday, April 18 thru Friday May 10th, 2019
Open Reception: April 18, 2019, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m., part of Gallery Night Providence


About the Work:

The SX-70 work, which deconstructed the film packet to introduce painted and collage elements was the first major body of work John created with Polaroid materials. Seeking a new format Reuter began working with Polacolor II peel-apart film to create images with the “image transfer process”.  This process allowed the dyes from the film negative to be transferred on to watercolor paper in lieu of the glossy Polacolor positive.  These transfers became a starting point for a process of hand reworking that enhanced or transformed the image using retouching dyes, watercolor, pastel and dry pigment.  Larger works became possible with the Polacolor material which was available in 8×10, 20×24 and multiple 20×24 panels to create works up to 40×50 inches.

About: John Reuter

John Reuter started his professional career as a Polaroid research photographer becoming the main photographer in the Polaroid 20×24 Studio in 1980.  The New York studio John ran was a key part of the Polaroid Artist Support Program and afforded him the opportunity to work with artists William Wegman, Chuck Close, Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellen Carey among others.

John worked for Polaroid as a master photographer, lighting technician and ambassador. He was responsible for making the Polaroid materials and the work of other artists look their best. With inside access to new materials, the scientists, technicians and the resources of the corporation his personal work, exhibited here, continued to follow a divergent path started down in college. His work employs a hand crafted esthetic not expected from a talented technical photographer and contrary to how instant photography is typically perceived. His work combines photography and painting to create images one might think lifted from the pages of an art history textbook.

Reuter remains the Director of the 20×24 Studio and is also an adjunct professor of photography at the Hartford Art School. The camera and original Polaroid film remain viable and are still available for artists and photographers to use through the 20×24 Studio.


Exhibition: Thursday, April 18th thru Friday, May 10th
Opening Reception: April 18, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m., part of Gallery Night Providence
On View: April 18 – May 10th, 2019