Jonas Wettre Photography & Retouch

About the exhibition & book

Once There Were Polaroids / The images

 The prepress & prints



The Book

"Once There Were Polaroids" The instant photography at Steidl


For many years I shot portraits of artists and photographers who visited the Steidl offices while working on their books there. There was no well lit studio set-up — I captured them right on the spot where they happened to be standing, or by a nearby window. It was not an HD camera that could handle all situations, but either a Polaroid SX-70 Landcamera with its classic squared format, or an EE-100 sheet film camera. The SX-70 is a mirror reflex camera where you can look through and get a sharp image. The exposure time is handled with a wheel, darker or lighter. But the exact time you can only guess. The EE-100 is no mirror reflex. Here you must estimate the distance to the subject — and pray for the best. The viewfinder shows more or less what’s in the picture, but if you get too close it ends up way off target. Add to this the instability of what the film market has been like in recent years. After Polaroid’s bankruptcy they discontinued film production in 2008, so any film still “out there” became highly desirable. Soon after, a Dutch company, The Impossible Project, started their own film business to fill the void Polaroid had created and, together with Fuji film still being made, alternative films were now available. The result of all this you can see in my images: different brands, different qualities and different locations create a personal touch.


Together with Stephen Herchen that have 30 years experience in the imaging industry and worked for Polaroid, ZINK Imaging and The Impossible Project. Jim Dine, that since his first solo exhibition in 1960 have had his paintings, sculptures, photography, and prints as the subject of nearly 300 solo exhibitions worldwide and Mauro D’Agati, the Palermo based photographer that had many books published by Steidl like Napule Shot and Sit Lux et Lux Fuit I tried to create a good overview of the history of instant film and the life for the artists at Steidl publisher.



The book

w.9.17 x 11.7 Inch (233 x h.297 mm)

128 Pages

88 Images

ISBN 978-3-86930-963-7


The exhibition prints

All instant portraits in this book exist as art prints in limited editions of 150 in the size 22 x 28 inches (55.9 x 71.3 cm)

and in the size 22 x 26.5 inches (55.9 x 67.4 cm). 6 500 SEK.

Some portraits will also be produced in the size 44 x 55.9 inches (111.8 x 142.1 cm) and in the size

44 x 53.1 inches (111.8 x 135 cm), in a limited edition of 27. Each image has three artist’s proofs. 20 000 SEK.



The authors

Jim Dine studied at the University of Cincinnati and the Boston Museum School, and received his B.F.A. from Ohio University, Athens, where he was also enrolled in the graduate program. He moved to New York City in 1958, where he had his first group (1959) and solo (1960) exhibitions. Dine became an active figure in the New York art world, creating and staging many of the first “Happenings” along with artists Claes Oldenburg and Robert Whitman. Since his first solo exhibition in 1960, Dine’s paintings, sculptures, photography, and prints have been the subject of nearly 300 solo exhibitions worldwide. Dine has been represented by the Pace Gallery since 1976.


Mauro D’Agati, born 1968 in Palermo, began working as a professional photographer in 1995, initially covering Sicilian jazz festivals, art and theater events. D’Agati has since worked for Italian and international magazines, while undertaking his own projects. Steidl has published D’Agati’s Palermo Unsung (2009), Alamar (2010), Napule Shot (2010), Sit Lux et Lux Fuit (2012) and Marzia’s Family (2015).


Stephen Herchen has 30 years experience in the imaging industry with the last ten years at the senior executive level managing research and development and new product development for Polaroid Corporation (VP & CTO) and ZINK Imaging Inc (EVP & CTO). Herchen is currently CTO and COO at The Impossible Project in Germany and the Netherlands, which is working to re-establish the instant analog film and camera business. In his CTO / COO roles Herchen is responsible for the management of research and development and technology development, as well as manufacturing operations for instant analog film.


Jonas Wettre was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1972. Wettre studied photography in Gothenburg and Stockholm, and graphic printmaking at Biskops-Arnö, Sweden, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Norway, and the University of South Florida, Tampa Bay, USA. Between 2002 and 2012 he worked at Steidl in the design and pre-press departments, and is currently a freelance designer and creative retoucher based in Ljungskile, Sweden.



The Polaroid artists

A-Chang (Auymi), Miles Aldridge, Bryan Adams, Lewis Baltz, François-Marie Banier, Tina Barney, Koto Bolofo, Edward Burtynsky, William Carter, John Cohen, Mauro D’Agati, Bruce Davidson, Thomas Demand, Raymond Depardon, Jim Dine, Mary Ellen Carroll, Mitch Epstein, José Figueroa, Robert Frank, Jenö Gindl, David Goldblatt, John Gossage, Jean-Paul Goude, Clay Ketter, Günter Grass, Khalid Bin Hamad Bin Ahmad Al-Thani, Gregory Heine, Andreas Hofer, Dan Holdsworth, Dominique Issermann, Jonas Jansson, Mikael Jansson, Orri Jonsson, Marc Joseph, Valérie Jouve, Tuomas Korpijaakko, Josef Koudelka, Mona Kuhn, June Leaf, Patric Leo, Yves Marchand, Paul McCarthy, Amy-Beth McNeely, Peter MacGill, Romain Meffre, Susan Meiselas, Diana Michener, Maria Miesenberger, Boris Mikhailov, Guido Mocafico, Reiner Motz, Claas Möller, Greger Ulf Nilson, Mikael Olsson, Trent Parke, Mark Pattenden, Susan Paulsen, Robert Polidori, Tobias Premper, Bernhard Prinz, Ann-Marie Rounkle, Jason Schmidt, Harald Schmitt, Ines Schumann, Daniel Schwartz, Fazal Sheikh, Dayanita Singh, Alec Soth, Gerhard Steidl, Joel Sternfeld, Mikhael Subotzky, Juergen Teller, Lars Tunbjörk, Deborah Turbeville, Massimo Vitali, Cristina Vives, Tim Rautert, Lou Reed, Keanu Reeves, Gary Regester, John Reynolds, Michael Ruetz, Ed Ruscha, Paul Ruscha, Stephen Waddell, Jeff Wall, Henry Wessel, Jonas Wettre, Kai Wiedenhöfer, Breanne Woods and Donovan Wylie.

























Photo by Mauro D'Agati of me shooting Juergen Teller