Lenny, Polaroids of day and night

Art as a universal language. Art as a way to face his inner demons. Lenny (@lenny__gerard) dedicates his free time to photography, creating several projects. For instance buying vintage Polaroids and taking photos of buildings by day and by night…

Within the 195 independent countries in the world, there are 7,117 different spoken languages (2022). This creates a huge amount of language barriers, hand signals, and lost translations. However, within this mass of worldwide confusion, art can be understood universally. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” 

I find the idea of global understanding deeply fascinating. I believe art is powerful as the greatest works are influential enough to travel around the world — from exhibit, to museum, to auction, and round again. Art carves a space in our minds that is unique to every individual. It has the power to create a reaction unique to whomever experiences it. Art is a way of recognizing oneself. 

Perhaps it is my obsession with my inner demons; problem-inducing things: the mazes my thoughts go through that create elaborate and interesting unique works I call art. If I am looking at a Vermeer painting, I see the camera obscura behind the painting. If I see a Warhol, I see the pain amongst the fame and struggle to stay relevant while defining society’s underground scene. If I am looking at a Ryan McGinley photograph or reading one of his essays, I see the beauty of being a raw human spewing emotion as a functioning corpse with free will and reckless playfulness. 

I believe that artists view the world differently. Rather than see a worn-down building, artists see the sublime towering bricks, browns, oranges, and golds, swirling curves and flat surfaces. I’ve always seen the world in this way. Sometimes I even see the world through the lens of a camera and think “what would be the perfect aperture and shutter speed for this exposure?”. I see a frame and within that frame, a conceptualized masterpiece people will not pass by is created. 

My personal work is primarily concerned with speaking out about social justice and mental health issues through photography and graphic design. I strive for the political statements hidden within my personal conceptual artistic works to make people think and shed awareness on relevant issues. 

My daily life consists of working for companies and on many projects. I have experience directing digital campaigns for companies such as H&M, and NBC, and have had my work published in outlets such as The Huffington Post. In my free time, I am interested in combining film photography, instant photography, making emulsion lifts from Polaroids, and making graphic designs to communicate that instant film is now more versatile than ever. I was able to grow a strong following on Instagram (@Lenny__Gerard). My following is my community. We all shoot Polaroids/Fujifilm and mail our pictures in exchange worldwide.

One of my projects involving Polaroids started during the pandemic in 2021. I started to notice that people were producing and purchasing more instant film than when Polaroid cameras were the latest technology decades ago. Before my eyes, on my iPhone scrolling through Instagram, it was as if old was new. These rare and new experimental Polaroid photography techniques intrigued me so much that naturally I wanted to invent my own unique work utilizing instant film.

I started going out to buy vintage Polaroid cameras at yard sales, flea markets, online, through apps, you name it. I played around with different instant films and cameras and how environmental factors affect the film. With the help of a white-out paint-stained stapler, a good eye for symmetrical architecture, understanding the chemistry of film, and a steady hand gripped to scissors for dear life, this “Day vs. Night juxtaposition” series was able to manifest internal hope during challenging times. 

To take a journey in art is to follow a path that is never ending. You will never know all there is to know or discover and that inspires me to keep going and growing. 

You can take a look at Lenny’s website to check his professional and personal projects: https://www.lennygerard.com/

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