20x24-1upIn college I was one of 10 artists who received a scholarship through California State University to create my work on the legendary 20 x 24 Polaroid camera. The camera was flown from New York to Humboldt State University and Program Director John Reuter helped us photograph the setups we had been experimenting with on 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 view cameras.

Since its introduction in 1978 this camera has been recognized as one of the most unique photography tools available. Originally developed to accurately reproduce works of art, the camera was quickly recognized as a creative tool to make instant photographs of 20 by 24 inches. Early practitioners included Chuck Close, Ansel Adams and William Wegman. Only 5 cameras were ever constructed and sadly they will cease production in late 2017.


Transience, 20 x 24 Polaroid by Linda Robertson.

When the camera was first developed, the prototype weighed in at 600 pounds, featured a barber chair support as its tripod, and was completely immobile. But the modern version stands 5-feet high, has been trimmed down to a mere 235 pounds, given wheels, swings, tilts and rising fronts.


The use of special lighting in my images, including text projected on to my set through a slide projector, posed some technical  challenges. My final photographs required an unusual exposure time of over 8 minutes, the longest they’d ever tried. No one was allowed to even walk across the floor during my sessions to keep from vibrating the camera!

After exposure, the film is pulled from the camera which initiates the processing, producing a finally detailed color print in just over a minute. The process for these large prints is the same as for smaller Polaroids we are all familiar with where the dye pack is peeled off the base revealing the photograph. It’s pretty exciting to see this done on such a large scale.

In the image below, that’s a real person in the background (behind paper eyes taped to a window frame complete with a real spider web). The poor guy had to stay perfectly still for so long that he kept getting cramps. I had to use a different person for each of my three images using that set since no one wanted to do it again!

These photographs were shown at the Center for the Performing Arts in Portland, Oregon in 2017 and are currently on display in my private studio, so look for them next time you come by for a class or come to one of my famous studio parties!


Emergence, 20 x 24 Polaroid by Linda Robertson


Linda Robertson is a painter and the author of the Embracing Encaustic book series. She offers live encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes.

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Online Encaustic Classes

RobertsonWorkshops.com online video classes bring Linda Robertson, an art teacher with international experience, right into your studio. Work at your own pace and watch the videos as many times as you want for a whole year.


My Books: Embracing Encaustic Series

There are now two books under the Embracing Encaustic title, Learning to Paint with Beeswax and the new title Advanced Techniques for Mixing Media, each focusing on specific encaustic techniques. Between the two books there are a total of 70 artists who share their work, reveal their personal painting methods and explain why they are compelled to make the work they do.Find out more and purchase them online here.

Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax
By Linda Robertson


OH LINDA!!!!! Just got this and saw the images of your photos and am blown away! I just can’t wait to see them in person. Stunning!!!!!

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