Robert Polidori’s atmospheric photographs of interiors altered by the passage of time and the people who have lived in them are investigations into the psychological implications of the human habitat. He has shot all over the world: decaying mansions in the formerly splendid metropolis of Havana, the colonial architecture of Goa, India; Beirut’s courtyards showing traces of war; the devastation after the Chernobyl disaster; and urban dwellings in China and Dubai among other countries. In 2006, he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to photograph New Orleans in the wake of Katrina.
Polidori’s career as a fine-art photographer began in the early 1980s when he gained permission to document the restoration of the Palace of Versailles. Since then, he has returned to the palace several times to take more pictures, and in every one, his conception of rooms as metaphors and vessels of memory is evident. He produces his interiors by means of a single long exposure in natural lighting. His tonally rich and seductive photographs are the product of a view camera, long hours waiting for the right light, and careful contemplation of the camera angle. Polidori uses large-format sheet film, which he believes produces superior images to digital photography.
Robert Polidori won the World Press Award in 1998 and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography in 1999 and 2000. He has published eleven books and his work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.