William Wegman Polaroids by William Wegman

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Synopsis

For almost 25 years, William Wegman has been producing photographs with the 20 x 24" Polaroid camera. This body of work began in 1979, when Wegman - already well known in the art world for his wry video and conceptual photographic work - was invited by Polaroid to try out this unusual camera. When Wegman and his dog, Man Ray, travelled to Boston to use the camera for the first time, a remarkable collaboration was launched. After Man Ray died in 1982, Wegman continued his exploration of the medium with non-canine subjects. In the late 1980s, he began to work with the dog Fay Ray and an expanding universe of her progeny. William Wegman captures his canine subjects in a variety of poses and guises. This volume gathers together a collection of his work and includes a candid essay by the artist exploring his experiences with the large-format camera and his models.
 

About William Wegman

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William Wegman was born in 1943 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He received a B.F.A. in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1965. In 1967, He received an M.F.A. in painting and printmaking at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Wegman taught painting at various universities, but later became interested in photography and video. Wegman may be best-known for his photography involving his Weimaraner dogs in various poses and costumes. His work can be seen in museums throughout Europe and the United States, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Wegman was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson Show in 1992, and his dogs have had appearances on Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street. Wegman lives in New York and Maine.
 
Published October 8, 2002 by Harry N. Abrams. 232 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Although Wegman's artistic output includes photography and video work that doesn't feature canines, by the mid-Seventies, he wryly notes, I had become the guy with the dog. The dog was Man Ray

Oct 01 2002 | Read Full Review of William Wegman Polaroids

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When Chip sits up in bed, his clothes are gone: "I don't need a dog, I am a dog," he realizes.

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Wegman's fans will recognize Man Ray, Chundo, Chip and his many other weimaraners in this treasury edition, Wegmanology.

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Below, a caption enlivened by alliteration or other wordplay includes a key word spelled out in the weimaraner-made letters (the copyright page drolly identifies this makeshift ``typeface'' as ``60-point Weimaraner'').

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Wegman has drafted his weimaraner family into a bona fide cottage industry.

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It's no surprise that the endpapers are designed to look like the fake wood of rec-room paneling from a bygone day, or that Chundo decides to make ""a rustic sportsman's lamp"" (the shade shows a fisherman amid a woodland stream) for Chip's birthday.

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Photogenic weimaraner Chip, who played a big-city naif in Wegman's Farm Days, helps send up small-town life in this affectionately campy salute.

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(In one scene a character extends a human foot with garish red toenails to try on the glass slipper.) The unkind stepmother, wearing a disheveled black wig, intimidates readers with a cold gaze;

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After ""Little Boy Blue,"" Mother Goose scolds, ""It's okay to take naps, but not when you are on duty,"" and ""Jack Sprat"" includes the low-fat warning that ""Mother Goose reminds you to eat more vegetables."" The book derives its edge as much from the freewheeling typography as from the dogs' ...

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Longtime Wegman watchers will enjoy spotting Chip, Batty, Crooky and their elder Chundo (who plays the overseer at the McFay farm) in their new roles here.

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For two decades, photographer Wegman (William Wegman's Mother Goose) has focused on his weimaraner menagerie, as this unusual and amiable album indicates.

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Although Wegman's artistic output includes photography and video work that doesn't feature canines, ""by the mid-Seventies,"" he wryly notes, ""I had become the guy with the dog."" The dog was Man Ray, a weimaraner with a movie star's instinct for the spotlight.

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