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Photographer William Schmidt Polaroid Works from Lonesomeville Contemporary Vintage Sleaze the Series #24

William Schmidt Courtesy the Artist
William Schmidt is a thoughtful and accomplished photographer I first became familiar with through his lovely series of beach photographs from several years ago.  Some were taken with a toy camera, others were not, all are pure and clean.  Many depict surfers and their tools, but these are not the usual "big wave" shots you may bring to mind.  They are a literal snapshot of the citizens of this country enjoying a freedom they are fortunate to have...and in each photograph Schmidt shows each individual knows it.  I return to them often.  They are linked below.

The sultry Bellocq New Orleans feel in Schmidt's latest work is no accident, and in the notes to his recent exhibition HERE he admits they were a tribute.  An unusual tribute which enlisted the help of the models: 

"My description of the project to potential models was simple. I sent them some of the images Bellocq had taken. I asked them to bring clothing that might approximate the costumes they saw there, vintage or vintage-looking garments or things, at least, that did not appear too contemporary. I also told them that we would shoot as Bellocq had, aping the long exposure times by having them hold poses for five or six seconds. I wanted to capture that sort of dignified awkwardness that I saw in his photographs..."

William Schmidt Courtesy the Artist

William Schmidt Courtesy the Artist
Encouraging their participation was a successful strategy.  They pose with no shame, usually masked, with the same matter of fact honesty seen in Bellocq's work. There is no sign of resignation or despair.  Schmidt captures poses that approximate the work of the master.  The photographer keeps studio props to a minimum...just enough to create a look which alludes to the past, yet these are far from recreations.  They are astoundingly sexy and human in equal measure. 

These are Polaroid photographs with a remarkable soft and etched-like surface, part implied and part the result of a film no longer made.  As such, immediate but timeless relics.

William Schmidt Courtesy the Artist
There is an extraordinary 120 individual images in the slideshow HERE.

The artist maintains a commentary on his work, techniques and influences HERE.  The beach photographs I admire so much are HERE.  The complete "Lonesomeville" exhibition is HERE


"Contemporary Vintage Sleaze" is a series which profiles artists and cartoonists working today. All art is copyrighted by the respective creator, distributor or publisher and therefore should not be reproduced WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE ARTIST. NO cribbing and I ain't fibbing! Each and every post in the Vintage Sleaze Contemporary Series links to the artist's portfolio, website, publisher or representative. EACH POST IN THE VINTAGE SLEAZE CONTEMPORARY SERIES WAS CREATED WITH THE ARTIST'S PERMISSION AND CONTRIBUTIONS. Serious artists are participating in this series, please respect their efforts and intellectual property. Artists who have contributed so far include: Lena Chandhok, Gary Panter, Vanessa Davis, Jane Dickson, Astrid Daley, Antonio Lapone, Leslie Cabarga, Trevor Alixopulus, Paul Swartz, Rebecca Whitaker, Denis St. John, Zahira Kelly, Fairfax and Emery, Elizabeth Watasin, Stephen Adams  Jane Dickson, Mala Mastroberte and many more. If your work is influenced by the girlie cartoons or pinup models of the past, we would love to see your work.