Cart Search

2024 Annual Conference

St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

submit Remember my login

Looking for a chapter event?

Past SPE Annual Conferences

Liz Albert

SPE Member since 2017
Member Chapter: Northeast

Instant Classic


In my project, Instant Classic, my collaborator, Shane VanOosterhout, and I have been sleuthing and acquiring anonymous Polaroids circa 1960-2000. Discarded photo albums, shoeboxes packed with forgotten snapshots; images lost beneath decades of clutter. Years ago, our subjects showed up for a Christmas party, a romantic encounter, 10th grade geometry. Responding to cues from what we perceive in these Polaroids, we add poignant and humorous phrases from our personal journals and recent conversations – inner thoughts we imagine the individuals and their observers may be thinking and feeling.

Friends from childhood, we grew up a block apart from each other – simultaneously following and deciphering the codes of preppy suburbia. Irony and sarcasm were our preferred secret language – this is how we buffered our tender, emerging identities against what we perceived as the winds of deadly conformity. Looking in the rear view mirror in our 50s, we aim to give an empathic and humorous voice to our subjects.

For Gen X kids, the Polaroid SX-70 was a magical device, producing an on-the-spot tangible photo which recorded a heartbeat of time. With the push of a red button and a synchronous buzz, the moment became evidence. In today's digital universe, we remain transfixed by the Polaroid camera's clever design and the vibrant memory-object it leaves behind.

I Want You to Know It's All Over

This Meaningless Obsession With Beauty Has Caused Me Grief

I'm Blown Away By My Own Genius

He Is Paralyzingly Boring

People In California Are Nicer

The Excitement Of Meeting People Is Wearing Off

There Are Only So Many Feelings In The World

I Always Felt You'd Never Want To Be Friends With Me

If I Gave A Damn About Any Of This I'd Be A Different Person

I Could Really Go For Him

Is There No End To All This Happiness?

I Hide Things From Myself

This Is Going To Be My Intellectual Year

The Meeanings Reveal Themselves

Other People Don't Worry About What You Worry About Half As Much

Let's Not Examine How Perfect Things Are

Everything's So Placed No One Would Have Known

Try Not To Please Everyone So Much

What You Count On Happeing Probably Will

Someone Had To Be Responsible

You Can't Just Sit Around Feeling Sorry For Yourself

I'm Waiting To See What Happens Next

Risking Terminal Brain Agitation

I Eased Into It Without Making Any Announcements

I Eased Into It Without Making Any Announcements

I'm Only Doing This Because I'm A Victim Of The System

Email Sign Up

SPE email updates contain resources, news, and more!

About this piece

Comments about this piece

Dialogue and critique are important to the SPE mission.
Please join the conversation.

Exit Full Screen Mode