Essay 546 • Mar 2nd 2024

"or How I learned stopped worrying and started loving my Polaroids again."

Bret Watkins is a Los Angeles based Polaroid photographer and mixed-media fiber artist. Bret has long been enamored with the chemical magic of the Polaroid process. What starts as a blank canvas, instantly morphs into a square image, a snapshot of life. A photographical snowflake if you will, a special moment in time that through a click, buzz, and a chemical process becomes an artifact, a physical memory that will exist within that square frame as long as one has it. And at the root, this is Bret’s goal with his Polaroid photography; to capture a one of a kind moment that you can hold onto forever.

Most recently, Bret has been expanding his relationship to his medium by adding the fiber art of embroidery to his photographic creations to create what he lovingly calls Embroideroids. These Embroideroids offer a new way to look through the photographer’s lens, to imagine what is beyond the lens and within the imagination of the artist. By adding embroidery designs and patterns atop his Polaroids, Bret works to highlight the subject matter within the photo with formal precision and with poetic intentions.

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