Bathroom Art: More Polaroids About Buildings & People by Corine St.Ofle

Our upcoming bathroom show features polaroid photographs by Corine St. Ofle.

The opening reception will be on February 11th from 6-10 PM. Her photos will be on display until March 8th.

I asked Corine a few questions about her photography:

Are they truly Polaroids? I didn’t think anyone really owned (let alone used) a Polaroid camera anymore. Why do you like this type of photography? 

Yes! They are the real thing! There’s definitely a little community of people still after the Polaroid high. These days, Polaroid film is hilariously expensive and mostly expired and/or experimental (like the film from www.impossible-project.com), but what can you do? There’s just something super engaging about them. The perfectly proportioned frame makes them look magnificent; you get to shake them when they come out (although that doesn’t actually do anything); they make a rad sound when the machine pushes them out; and they even smell kind of cool. I also love the fact that you can’t manipulate them, or color correct them. They are the way they are and it’s ok if they are imperfect. That’s how I like people, too.

Is there an overall theme to the images?

The show is called “More Polaroids About Buildings and People” (after a certain album by a certain band — I’ll distribute high fives to whoever knows what band that is), and it’s pretty much that. Buildings. People. And also buildings+people. There are a lot of cool facades from buildings in Paris, Madrid and San Francisco, and a handful of Sacramento people.

How long have you been taking polaroid photographs?

I’ve always liked instant photographs, but as with everything, I became obsessed with them when the company announced they had stopped making them, so around mid-2008. That’s very typical of me: for example, I always really get into bands right after they break up. Then they become highly tragic. Anyway, people had secret spots where you could still find Polaroid film, but wouldn’t be generous with that information. I’ll be honest: I became selfish about it too and started gathering my own secret stash. I grabbed the last few at this huge music store on Les Champs Elysees, in Paris. Also when I was in Madrid, I walked into a trendy store where they took their employee-of-the-month photo with Polaroid film. Then ensued a comical conversation about where to find film, complicated by my horrible Spanish accent. Fortunately, my friends came to the rescue and eventually we found this hole-in-the-wall-mom-and-pop store that was seemingly the last place that still carried Polaroid film in Madrid, and where I proceeded to buy as many packs as I could afford. Looking for film was an adventure in and of itself, which made the whole experience pretty mystical. I have one unopened pack left. It expired in 2009…

I heard that there are a couple ways you’re using the proceeds. Can you tell me about that? 

Indeed. Among the “people” pictures, there are some Sacramento musicians, like MOM and Natalie Ribbons, and if their photos sell, I’ll be sharing the profits with them. Actually, I have a photo of Matthew Tucker too, playing drums at Old Ironsides with the late Purple Girl. If someone can get a hold of him and tell him, that would be great. There will also be cards of Polaroids I took during an Anti-Prop 8 rally in early 2009, and I will be donating the proceeds of that to the It Gets Better project, which helps LGBT kids hang in there until everyone else in the country realizes that love is love. The original Polaroids from that rally won’t be on display; I was about 7-months pregnant when I took them so they are extra dear to me.

Do you do any other types of art or photography?

Sure, if you’re willing to expand the definition of art a bit: I’m doing a Ph.D. in French literature at UC Berkeley and co-raising a two-year-old boy, which is a pretty demanding art project. I’m practicing the art of trying to stay sane essentially. I always have the impulse to take photos though, and do whenever possible, even if it’s with a much less cool camera phone. Lately, life has temporarily taken over purely artistic pursuits, which is why I am so excited about this show and about sharing these photos.
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