What Is This Thing Called Polaroid? focuses on the intimate relationship the artist Ulay (born 1943) has developed with the medium of Polaroid, which he has been exploring since the 1970s. For him the unique and immediate character of each Polaroid photograph was, and still is, a perfect match for his performance and body art. The experiments that Ulay conducted even led him to start working inside a large-format Polaroid camera, radically merging the body of the artist with the body of the camera while the image was being created.
This book provides insights into Ulay’s artistic pursuits with Polaroid photography and also examines the medium itself, surveying the historical background of the Polaroid, its technical innovations, the specific chemical processes involved and the challenges of conserving Polaroid prints.