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Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids [Paperback]

Giovanni Chiaramonte , Andrey A. Tarkovsky , Tonino Guerra
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 17, 2006 0500286140 978-0500286142 1

An elegiac collection of sixty Polaroid photographs by the late Soviet film director Andrei Tarkovsky.

"Tarkovsky often reflected on the way that time flies and wanted to stop it, even with these quick Polaroid shots. The melancholy of seeing things for the last time is the highly mysterious and poetic essence that these images leave with us. It is as though Andrei wanted to transmit his own enjoyment quickly to others. And they feel like a fond farewell."Tonino Guerra, from the Introduction

This beautifully produced book comprises sixty Polaroid photographs of Andrei Tarkovsky's friends and family, taken between 1979 and 1984 in his native Russia and in Italy, where he spent time in political exile.The size of the Polaroids is exactly as presented in the book, including the frame. The book may therefore be viewed as a facsimile edition. 60 color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Russian Andrey Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is one of the greatest directors in film history. Here Italian photographer Chiaramonte and Tarkovsky's son mount a selection of color Polaroids the filmmaker took from 1979 to 1984 of his home, family, and friends in Russia and of places he visited in Italy. His father, Arseny, was a distinguished poet, and judging from the notebook extracts accompanying the pictures, Tarkovsky was no mean poet himself. Like his father, he intuited a holy eternity. Those windows into eternity, the icons of the Orthodox Church, influenced his visual style (his Andrei Rublev commemorates the greatest icon painter), and these photos, suffused by the ochre light of late afternoon and so powerfully composed that they argue that supreme artistic visualization was second nature to Tarkovsky, look so timeless and enduring that they inspire worshipful awe. Like some of the imagery of The Mirror, the Tarkovsky film these pictures most resemble, some of them tax and frustrate legibility. Always, they affirm a line of Arseny Tarkovsky's, "We are all immortal." Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"* 'One of the most beautiful books of the year' - Time Out * '[These photos] match the rapturous visuals and spiritual intensity of Tarkovsky's films... [they] capture eternity in a moment' - Vertigo"

Product Details

  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500286140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500286142
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars treasure May 11, 2006
Ingmar Bergman is quoted as saying that '..for me, Tarkovsky is the greatest filmmaker' -- not bad, considering that the source is numbered among the most respected directors in the history of cinema. Tarkovsky made a 'scant' 7 films over the course of his career -- but each one of them is outstanding. His philosophy of art and spirituality pervades all of his work -- including the incredible photographs reproduced in this thoughtfully assembled, lovingly printed volume.

Tarkovsky's son, along with Tonino Guerro (a close friend and collaborator of the filmmaker) and Giovanni Chiaramonte (a wonderful Italian photographer whose comments at the end of the book show that he shared a great deal of Tarkovsky's spirit and concerns) have put together this collection -- and I have no doubt that it will not only be treasured by those who are already admirers of the director, but that it will serve as a fitting introduction to those who have as yet missed out on him.

The strength, depth of spirituality, transcendent beauty and wisdom contained in and conveyed by the images and thoughts here are timeless. One of the driving forces in Tarkovsky's work was to 'stop time' so that the viewer might better understand not only the events depicted in his images, but also, upon reflection, better view his own soul, personality and place in the scheme of things. There are many photographs in this book that have that very time-stopping effect.

This is a collection that I will treasure -- I can't recommend it highly enough.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
If anyone remembers polaroid pictures from back in the day, it's truly amazing that Tarkovsky captured the beautiful & haunting images he did. This collection gives the world a postmortem gift from one of the most important filmmakers/artists that has ever graced this earth. We should all give thanks to his son, Andrey A. Tarkovsky, for publishing this collection of pictures and letting us all see these images of mysterious and poetic beauty.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic, Evocative Images: Tarovsky's Polaroids July 26, 2006
Tarovsky's polaroid photos, many of them landscapes, are evocative and nostalgic, while exhibiting a style of composition that is fresh, inventive, and thoughtful. He manages all this without the need for costly equipment, using only inexpensive polaroid cameras. The photos made me feel as though I had been there and seen his subjects for myself--although I've never been to Russia. Or perhaps Tarovsky's images simply have the power to evoke nostalgic longings in us, without being able to identify where they come from.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Serendipity... January 14, 2011
By J. Main
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Andrei Tarkovsky was an incredibly talented human being with such artistry of the eye! Again, it was my 19-year daughter who requested Instant Light for a Christmas blessing. The book captures the artist's family flavor beautifully, while reminding the reader to hurry home and kiss their own family. Tarkovsky passed away a few years after he published this collection of polaroid photos, making the book very bittersweet and reminiscent of family memories many years past. It is our hope that Tarkovsky's family know the world remembers him and has been blessed because he was a part of it!
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