20×24 Studio, the Home of Large Format Instant Photography
It has been two years since 20x24 Holdings LLC took possession of the film inventory and production equipment required for large format 20x24 instant film from Polaroid Corporation. In that time we have set up production facilities in Dudley, Massachusetts and a inventory spooling and pod production facility in Putnam, CT. We continue to offer access to this venerable technology through our studio at Lincoln Center as well as the 20x24 Studio West in San Francisco. Film is also available to owners of 20x24 instant systems through direct sales. The New York Studio and 20x24 Holdings LLC is managed by Executive Director John Reuter. His experience spans nearly thirty five years in large format instant photography. Joining us in the fall of 2012 is Nafis Azad, our new Director of Photography. The 20x24 Studio will expand with two new cameras and a second NYC studio at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For further information e-mail us at email@example.com or call 201-892-5629.
In 1986 Neal Slavin published Britons, and extraordinary collection of 20×24 Polaroid photographs executed over an eight year period in the UK. Anyone who has ever seen a 20×24 Polaroid camera in action will marvel at the technical tour de force this body of work embodies. Add to that Slavin’s ability to orchestrate and inspire his subjects results in truly remarkable documents of a myriad of social constructs.
Foreword for The Britons
by Colin Ford, Keeper, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television
I have been an admirer of Neal Slavin since I first saw his book When Two Or More Are Gathered Together,
published in the USA in 1976. It consists of sixty or so multiple portraits which demonstrate colourfully,
revealingly and entertainingly that many human beings seem to feel the need to congregate in groups, at
work and at play. Do we feel safer that way? Do we believe our personalities and identities are more
recognisable? Or do we just enjoy being with like-minded people? Whatever the answer, the Americans in
Slavin’s photographs seemed so to blossom before his camera that I knew he should be asked to exercise
his considerable skills in Britain.
What were those skills? A scrutiny of his pictures revealed a mastery of composition and colour (it was
almost impossible to imagine them in black and white). But, more importantly, the photographer clearly
had a way of making each photographic sitting an occasion: his sitters were all giving performances — and
all having a wonderful time. He was, equally obviously, the possessor of a well-developed — and warm —
sense of humour. The pictures were funny: the laughter came, not from the silliness of the antics, but
from the participants’ overt pleasure in dramatizing themselves, and in acting out their quirkiness for the
It has taken eight years of voluble persuasion, intricate planning and costly expenditure to bring the
project to its triumphant conclusion. If I say that I believe Slavin’s Britons have fared even better than his
Americans, it is not jingoism, nor merely the pleasure of having been so personally involved, nor pride
that this magnificent assemblage is yet another feather in the cap of the National Museum of Photography,
Film & Television. It derives mainly, I think, from the inspired decision to use only the giant Polaroid
The Polaroid 20″ x 24″ Instant Land Camera is a formidable beast, calling for a team of handlers to
transport it, feed it, keep it in good temper and bed it down for the night. When you face the brute in
order to be photographed, however, you know without doubt that you are participating in an event larger
than life: everyone in the pictures stretches nerve and sinew to give of their best, and such superhuman
efforts are rewarded by the pure magic of that moment when the huge print is peeled off, seconds after
exposure. I have never seen anyone fail to be astonished — even moved — by the quality, the rich color,
and the sheer impact of the result. And the magic is even more powerful for those who are aware of the
weeks of organization, letter-writing, telephoning, map-reading and arm-twisting which have preceded
that moment of what is often supposed to be ‘instant’ photography.
On the walls of the Museum, and in the pages of this book, the magic is still there. Our sincerest
thanks to everyone who made it possible — and especially to Neal Slavin. It was well worth waiting eight
Filled with images from a trove of artists from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol, this is the first volume to explore the Polaroid camera’s indelible influence on the history of photography. From its inception in 1947, the Polaroid system inspired artists to experiment–to dazzling effect–with the cameras’ unique technologies. Edwin Land, the inventor of the first Polaroid instant camera, remarked on his discovery, “Photography will never be the same.” And he was right. This fascinating journey through the Polaroid era documents the evolution of instant photography. Hundreds of color images celebrate the myriad ways Polaroid photographs have been used and ingeniously manipulated by Walker Evans, David Hockney, Barbara Kasten, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lucas Samaras, and others. The book features essays addressing the unique technology of instant photography and the marketing genius of the Polaroid Corporation. Artist statements from Ellen Carey, Chuck Close, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Bryan Graf, Miranda Lichtenstein, David Levinthal, Joy Neimanas, Lisa Oppenheim, Catherine Opie, John Reuter, William Wegman, and James Welling reveal how Polaroids affected and, in many instances, forever changed the way they captured the world around them.
MARY-KAY LOMBINO is the Emily Hargroves Fisher ’57 and Richard B. Fisher Curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She has curated several exhibitions including Off the Shelf: New Forms in Contemporary Artists’ Books and Utopian Mirage: Social Metaphors in Contemporary Photography.
See the review in the New York Times.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has worked with the 20×24 camera since 1986. In those years he used the 20×24 for campaigns for Barney’s, Tommy Hilfiger, on the set Steven Speilberg’s “Hook”, portraits of Presidents and First Ladies, and countless classic images of art world, cinema, and literary celebrities. We were particularly excited to have him agree to photograph at the We Are Family Foundation Celebration Gala 2.0 held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on January 31st, 2013. The We Are Family Foundation, founded by Nile Rodgers is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the vision of a global family by supporting programs that inspire and educate the next generation. Their mission is to celebrate the vision of a global family by creating and supporting programs that inspire and educate people about mutual respect, understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity. The evening was hosted by actress Rosie Perez and Touré, co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” and included a concert featuring Adam Lambert, Nile Rodgers & CHIC and special guests, Taylor Dayne, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Kathy Sledge, Sam Sparro, and Russell Peters. Honorees of the Gala were Adam Lambert, the Unity Honoree, Jeni Stepanek , the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Honoree, and Daniel Stern, the Visionary Honoree.
Polaroid’s 20×24 cameras, built in the late 1970s and named for the dimensions of their snapshots — 20 by 24 inches, are the largest living Polaroid cameras in the world. (There was once an even bigger one with 40×80 snapshots but the film has run out.) Five of these 20×24 cameras still exist, and one resides in New York City’s 20×24 Studio. The Studio’s director, artist John Reuter, demonstrates the 235-pound camera, and Christopher Bonanos, author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid, explains how this camera fits into Polaroid’s history.
The 20×24 Studio is offering significant savings on portrait sessions for the holiday season. There is no better time to bring the family in and create a unique document to cherish. The legendary 20×24 camera produces beautiful analog images that are one of a kind. The ultra large negative produces stunning detail and the peel apart instant film process creates subtle tonal transitions that are unparalleled. It is the ultimate portrait medium to document those who are special to you. So bring your family, your kids, your pets and your friends to the 20×24 Studio to take advantage of this special offer. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-892-5629 to find out more.