20×24 Studio bio picture

Elsa Dorfman, for decades one of the most visible advocates of the Polaroid 20×24 Camera has died at age 83.  Elsa began working with the 20×24 in 1980 when Polaroid sponsored her to use the camera to photograph the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.  This session led to many more and Elsa soon offered her signature style of 20×24 portraiture, unposed and unretouched.  Generations of families and Cambridge, MA notables would pose for her camera on a simple white background rendered in full length.  Dorfman played a huge role in saving the 20×24 project in 2008, bringing together a small team of former Polaroid employees with an investor to continue 20×24 beyond the life of Polaroid Corporation.  Over ten years later we celebrate the life and work of a one of a kind original, Elsa Dorfman.

Elsa Solo

This is “Elsa Solo” by John Reuter on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Guardians of Film: John Reuter, 20 x 24 Studio

To hear John Reuter, Executive Director of 20 x 24 Studio tell it, keeping 20 x 24 instant film alive was always a fight. Reuter, a former Polaroid executive, says he repeatedly had to convince Polaroid executives that 20 x 24 film, while not a rockstar revenue generator, was a worthwhile project for the artistic credibility and communal enthusiasm the film generated.


20×24 Studio Berlin

Interviews with the principals behind the opening of the 20×24 Studio Berlin, Florian Kaps, Markus Mahla, and Oliver Blohm. Filmed in Berlin in July of 2018 during the opening of the “Polaroid Project” exhibit at the C/O Berlin.

Interviews with the principals behind the opening of the 20×24 Studio Berlin, Florian Kaps, Markus Mahla, and Oliver Blohm. Filmed in Berlin in July of 2018 during the opening of the “Polaroid Project” exhibit at the C/O Berlin.

Camera Ready: Journeys with the Giant Polaroid is a documentary film in progress chronicling the legendary 20×24 camera and the artists how used it as well as the people who created it.  The film was begun in 2014 with early interviews with William Wegman, Elsa Dorfman, and Chuck Close.  As time has passed the studio continues, now in its 10th year after exiting Polaroid.  Work on the documentary continues as the story is still unfolding and new possibilities emerge with a re-born European studio in Berlin and renewed interest in the US studio in New York.  This 5 minute cut gives you a sense of the history and the stories behind the amazing project that is the Polaroid 20×24 Studio.

Camera Ready: Journeys with the Giant Polaroid

It is always a challenge to distill a full film into a trailer or five minute summation. In this edit I wanted to show both the artists and Polaroid individuals who are key to the story. I chose longer passages of fewer subjects rather than several second snapshots of more people.

We are very excited to announce that a new 20×24 Studio has opened in Berlin, Germany.  It is run by Markus Mahla and Oliver Blohm.  Here is an excerpt from an interview with Mahla in The Phoblographer.

Markus Mahla: 20×24 Studio Berlin is a one-of-a-kind place that brings one of the most unique cameras of the last century back to life: the 20×24 Polaroid Land Camera. Polaroid built only five of these cameras in the 1970s. At our new location in the heart of Berlin, we present the beautiful number 5. It is the only operating 20×24 Land Camera outside the US. Number 2 is with John Reuter in NYC, and Number 3 is with Elsa Dorfman in Boston Area. What we do is pretty special: we produce mega format instant photography.

“I observed over the past years (and I was part of digital transitions in several companies with large and strong brands) that the more ‘digital’ young folks get or are, the more they are also very much interested in analogue experiences, such as taking a Polaroid picture. A process that you can touch, feel, smell, see, hear.”

What all groups, clients and partners have in common is that they adore what we do. The 20×24 inch size is simply overwhelming; it gives you goosebumps and makes you overjoyed. I have never seen anybody who was not blissfully happy about his image and people who watch and follow the photography process are enthusiastic. This process was and is magic and attracts everyone in its spell. Taking a single photograph is an event in itself but, peeling this huge image apart in front of an audience, literally a minute after pulling it out of the huge camera, is a ball. People are moaning, applauding, screaming, they get goosebumps – we had folks who were in tears when their portrait was peeled off. It’s always a very special moment. Even me being around this wonderful peace of art for quite a while, I’m getting excited while I tell all this to you.

Wherever we go, the 20×24 Land Camera is an eye-catcher. People are super excited – it feels to me that they are even more excited compared to the past since this is such an unexpected surprise. The wooden camera and the way we operate looks like were from a Jules Verne novel. Hardly anybody can actually believe that something like this really exists in our digital world. It is spectacular.