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 bearing traces of armed conflict; the devastation after the Chernobyl disaster; and urban dwellings in China and Dubai among other countries. In 2006, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York commissioned him to photograph New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. The resulting solo exhibition at the museum, Katrina After the Flood: Photographs by Robert Polidori, was widely acclaimed.
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 photographs, and in each one, his conception of rooms as metaphors and vessels of memory is evident. He produces these interior images by means of a single long exposure in natural light. The 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 and The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Centre Pompidou and Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.