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Enrique (Emilio Gutiérrez Caba) is upper- class and modern; while around the same time in Bob Rafel- son’s Five Easy Pieces (1970), when Rayette (Karen Black) uses a Polaroid Automatic it is just more evidence of her vulgarity and lower social class, placing her in stark contrast to the piano- playing Robert (Jack Nicholson).63 Francine Fishpaw, meanwhile, seems to be wielding a top- of- the- range SX- 70 Sonar, just the sort of prestige camera you would expect to find in the rich suburbs of Baltimore. “Creativity” and Cultural Value: Polaroid Kitsch Polaroid

Page numbers in italics refer to illustrations. Abbas, 305n10 abstraction, 148, 163, 218, 230 abstract painting, 291n6 Abu Ghraib, 52 abundance, 259, 314– 15n13; and catastrophe, 245; and citizenship, 246; as collective association, 237; consumer consumption, 246– 47; as democratic concept, 241– 42; evil, as perversion of, 248– 49; and hoarding, 238, 241; human dignity and creativity, as central to, 247; intimacy, feature of, 237; and landscape photography, 240; of ordinary experience, 237, 250; and photography, 227– 28, 235– 36, 238, 241– 42, 245

for artistic creativity. In fact, if you had followed closely the many column inches devoted to the story of the sale, you could be forgiven for forgetting that Polaroid was primarily a snapshot form and not a technology expressly devoted to producing expensive artworks. Polaroid, it is true, was not always a snapshot company. At the beginning, in the 1930s and 1940s, its revenue came from artificial polarizers and war contracts. Near the end, it had diversified away from the amateur snapshot market to the extent that two- thirds of its business was

depict were not chosen en- tirely at random—in this instance, the crayfish were no doubt included for their striking translucency—but there was usually no prescribed object they needed to capture. This indeterminacy gave the scientists some creative lee- way, and so bits and pieces of their everyday world sometimes filtered into the experimental setting. Then again, we might say, the purpose of demon- stration positively compelled such creativity. After all, they needed to de- pict something if they wanted to bring the visual effect of the phenomena in question

: Batsford, 1992. Keppler, Herbert. “For Land’s Sake, Doc, What Cooks Now?” Photo Weekly, Febru- ary 25, 1980. Keppler, Herbert. “Kookie Camera: Ideal’s Answer to Polaroid?????” Modern Photography, March 1969. Kimmelman, Michael. “Ghosts in the Lens, Tricks in the Darkroom.” New York Times, September 30, 2005. Kimmelman, Michael. “Imperfect, yet Magical.” New York Times, December 28, 2008. King, Graham. Say Cheese! The Snapshot as Art and Social History. London: Williams Collins, 1986. Kirkland, Douglas. “The SX- 70 as a Tool for Creativity.” Popular Photography

creativity— the darkroom— might have been a deterrent. To some, though, it was a challenge to find the holes in the integral print’s defenses. Just a Toy 47 In the first years of SX- 70 photography there was one major hole: the photographic emulsion took up to 48 hours to harden, and while it remained soft, it was possible to work upon it with a sharp imple- ment such as a dental tool. The print was tough enough to withstand scratching, but firm pressure applied to its surface would break down into lower levels in the layers of dye and change the color and tex- ture

a host of values and other goods, not least in our time the commitment to human rights. If wealth of any sort is to be displayed and celebrated, it must be to support rather than be at the expense of other values. Second, the values of human dignity and creativity are not ancillary to a philosophy of abundance but central to its development. A de- nial of human autonomy and dignity occurs whenever an individual is treated as only a means to an end, to be valued only in that regard and disposable otherwise. That treatment becomes thinkable only in

political action, we are left with shadows, emptiness, and stony impersonality. Instead of creativity where it is needed most— in the public sphere— we find anxious movement that, for all its stylish- ness, is still an evacuation. And Greece’s repeated crises are only lo- cal versions of the overextensions and crashes that occur elsewhere as well. So it is when modern financial systems operate with a radical autonomy and disregard for common sense that may be keys to artis- tic innovation but little else. By capturing modernist art and fashion against backdrops of top

force of matter and “the great industrial madness of our times,” it was driving out the imag- ination, leaving a void sure to be filled only by banality, mediocrity, and sentimentality.14 What actually was happening, of course, was that the definition of art was changing radically due to the pressure of photography’s mimetic power and widespread circulation, and by being freed from the imitation of nature, modern painters unleashed one of the most significant bursts of creativity in the history of art. Even so, Baudelaire was prescient in recognizing that

depend on notions of author’s copyright in the economy of our own profession. Foucault’s question, “What matter who’s speaking?” matters a great deal in the mar- ket of ideas and creativity, and despite theories of intertextuality and de- construction, we still subscribe to notions of originality as subjecthood, as witnessed by our elaborate systems of citation and strict policing of plagiarism. Note that I am not arguing for the survival of an ideal of origi- nality and ownership in scholarly discourse; I would only contend that we ignore it at our own risk