Polaroids from the set of Jim Jarmusch’s DOWN BY LAW
in honor of their new blu-ray of Down by Law (which is out today!), Criterion has posted a collection of Polaroids from the set, photos snapped by assistant cameraman Jack Anderson while Jarmusch was testing certain set-ups for the shoot. on the back of each Polaroid, Anderson jotted down all the pertinent camera details that Jarmusch would require for production: t-stops, lens types, focal distances, etc…
“After all, I am getting older, and I feel that nobody should touch a Polaroid until he’s over sixty,” remarked Walker Evans in an interview the year that he died. He was introduced to the instantaneous Polaroid SX-70 camera and color film in 1972 and used it for two years, primarily making portraits of colleagues, friends, and students. Eventually he made more than 2,400 Polaroid images.
In this photograph, Evans’s familiar love of signs and words is evident in the cryptic message “DEAD END” that has been spray-painted on a metal sign. It is uncanny as well as ironic, given that the Polaroid camera marked a new and fruitful path in Evans’s career.