Coming to theatres today, Friday, June 30:
THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN’S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Toronto, New York, Chicago, IDFA, Hong Kong, Provincetown, Moscow, IFF Boston,
A large-scale Polaroid photographer reflects on her work on the eve of her retirement.
Laying aside his Interrotron for the moment, master documentarian Morris goes for a warmer, more personal interaction with his latest subject, visiting Elsa Dorfman in her Cambridge MA photography studio which doubles as a cramped archive. The photographer discovered her medium in the early 1980s when she encountered a 20×24 Polaroid camera, and has been taking large-print portraits ever since. Morris’ film’s title derives from her practice of shooting two portraits with the same client, keeping the rejected one – the “b-side” – for herself. As a result of Polaroid’s bankruptcy and its discontinuation of 20×24 instant film, Dorfman faces impending retirement, prompting a sometimes wistful look back at her career and the strikingly optimistic work she has produced. What emerges is a subtle contemplation of time, mortality, and legacy.