Marie Cosindas: Instant Color

February 28, 2013May 26, 2013

Marie Cosindas (b. 1925) did not intend to be a photographer. The eighth of ten children in a modestly situated Greek family living in Boston, she studied dressmaking in school and took up a career designing textiles and children’s shoes, also acting as a color coordinator for a company that made museum reproductions in stone. On the side, she created abstract paintings filled with atmospheric color.

Cosindas initially thought of the camera as a means for making design notes. But as so often happens, several photographs she took on a visit to Greece convinced her that such prints could stand on their own as finished works. In 1961, she participated in one of Ansel Adams’s photography workshops in Yosemite Valley. The following year, when Polaroid sought photographers to test its new instant color film before bringing it to market, Adams recommended her.

Cosindas immediately took to the process of instant-developing color film and, in so doing, proved instrumental in revealing the artistic potential of color photography. She made such exquisite still lifes and portraits that even Polaroid’s founder, Edwin Land, was astounded. This exhibition includes 40 of Cosindas’s one-of-a-kind Polaroid photographs and is the artist’s first major show in decades.