Polaroid film – analog, expired, nearly extinct – continues to excercise its power in the world of fashion… including high fashion, or Haute Couture. Great photographers of the past have used this special instant film, like Helmut Newton, and some acclaimed photographers of the present, despite the film’s rarity and expense, also love using it.

In this hugely digital world, contemporary German-French photographer Cathleen Naundorf, whose mentor was the magnificent Horst P. Horst, is especially accomplished at using old Polaroid 8×10 film for her painterly artistic and commercial pictures. She has made photographs for fashion houses like Dior, Chanel, Gaultier, and Valentino.

Cathleen Naundorf-2

Naundorf, based in Paris, likes 809 and 803 films, which she distresses in the development stage to look like the beautifully deteriorating old walls of a French village. Before shooting her models in gorgeous dresses, with exotic props, she creates mysterious, extraordinary, vivid tableaux for her settings. Her tools of choice include her Deardorff and Plaubel large format cameras, and of course the Polaroid 8×10 Processor.

Currently a selection of Naundorf’s lovely work is available to be seen, up close and personal, in New York at the Edwynn Houk Gallery until February 27th, details here: http://www.houkgallery.com/exhibitions/2016-01-14_cathleen-naundorf/. Also check out her portfolios on her website here: http://cathleennaundorf.com/.

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And if you have a few hundred bucks or more to spare, treat yourself to her limited edition book, Haute Couture: The Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf: http://www.amazon.com/Haute-Couture-Polaroids-Cathleen-Naundorf/dp/3791351559. 


  1. Donna Natalie says:

    Nice article. The photos have a sense of timelessness and evoke 19th century European artists. The colours are sumptuous and beautiful. The subjects are wonderfully captured, too.

  2. These are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for highlighting her work!

  3. Bill Moore says:

    thanks, Donna… yes, like Roman murals, it seems to me !

  4. Bill Moore says:

    our pleasure, Will. glad you enjoyed. 🙂

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