John Slepian, Small Worlds

Each of these images is a small meditation. The objects depicted might not be thought to be worth a second look, but upon further inspection they can be quite beautiful. The small size of the Polaroid prints requires the viewer to look closely. 

After a year away, I returned to the urban Northeast where I grew up and have lived most of my life. During the Covid pandemic, I began focusing on things in my much smaller world. I was struck by the details and textures of the objects around me. All of these images focus on an object or small group of objects closely—things that resonate with the gritty, but vital and beautiful qualities of my intensely urban environment.

Each photograph was shot with a restored vintage Polaroid SX-70 camera. The prints are far from perfect. They are subject to the vagaries of the complex Polaroid instant exposure and development process—and thus reveal their imperfect analog nature very clearly. They are also unique physical objects. These pictures have many of the same qualities as the objects they depict.


About the artist

John Slepian’s artwork has been shown both nationally and internationally at venues including P.S.1/MoMA and Hunter College Art Galleries in New York, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Axiom Gallery, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, and the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston; the Re-New Digital Art Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark; and the 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver, Canada. He was a resident in the P.S.1 National Studio Program in 2002-2003, and in 2005-2006 was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts grant in Computer Arts. In 2014, he was co-awarded a Connecticut State Artist Fellowship for his work with Adele Myers and Dancers. Slepian graduated from New York University with a BFA in Film and Television and the San Francisco Art Institute with an MFA in New Genres. For the 2019-20 school year, he served as the Dean of Visual Arts at New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL. Since 2007, John Slepian has been an Associate Professor of Art and Technology at Hampshire and Smith Colleges in Western Massachusetts. He lives and works in Worcester, MA.



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