Michael Barr’s Roid Rage

Is brilliant. 

I am so immensely inspired by Michael Barr’s editorial series! He takes elements from Polaroid culture, selfie culture, and makeup advertisement tropes. 

His use of Polaroids marks those youthful and playful characteristics of Polaroids. Polaroids (now fujifilms–but that doesn’t sound nearly as cool) have such an in the moment charge because of their in the moment chemical processing. The use of them in Barr’s editorial really brings that into the contemporary world which of course lends itself to its modern day rebirth as the selfie. 

Understandably, selfies are not physical as Polaroids are, but they are small and intimate and shareable. Selfies are 2-3 inch squares on your Instagram feed, 2-3 inch boxes on your Facebook timeline, and 2-3 inch rectangles on your Tumblr. Selfies are small. Selfies are shared. Selfies are the contemporary Polaroid. While they are more posed and less in the moment, they are still spurred by this moment to share yourself. In Barr’s photographs, these models want to share they’re make up stories and the emotions they represent. Emotions are momentary. Temporary. 

Not only is Polaroid culture marking of selfies, but the way Barr uses them reminds me of makeup advertisements. Do you ever notice in those Maybelline ads for mascara how the eyes look so soft but the mascara looks so sharp and bold? They’re edited to highlight the product and how well the product will perform when you buy it, take it home, and put it on. Barr uses Polaroids to highlight the makeup products of interest. 

His series is brilliant, truly. Thank you Michael Barr for bringing something so refreshing to the table. 


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