Tarkovsky Polaroids

Instant Light

Access the Soviet Filmmaker’s Private Polaroids

Polaroid by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979-84 © Андрей Тарковский/Ultreya, Milano

Andrei Tarkovsky is often cited as the greatest cinematic artist of all time. His roster of just seven films – including Andrei Rublev, Ivan’s Children and Solaris – have made him one of the most lauded directors in history, awarded a Golden Lion, the Grand Prix du Jury at Cannes and, posthumously, the Lenin Prize – the highest accolade in the Soviet Union. One of his heroes, Ingmar Bergman, once stated “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”


Veneration for Tarkovsky has not dimmed since his premature death in 1986, making the recent discovery of a cache of his polaroids a thrilling find. Taken between 1979 and 1984, in the years before his death from a cancer supposedly contracted on the set of Stalker, they span his last months in the Soviet Union and the years he spent researching and filming in Italy. Very much in the spirit of his moving image work, they capture nature, individuals and light in images that shine with the singular humanity which imbues his films. He once pronounced that “the director’s task is to recreate life, its movement, its contradictions, its dynamic and conflicts. It is his duty to reveal every iota of the truth he has seen…” In these vignettes from his personal world, populated by his dog, his children, his garden and the view from his window, we are left spellbound by a quiet and captivating insight into the world of a man who rendered dreams reality, creating worlds of wonder and truth that have never been equalled despite all the bombast of modern technology.

 –Text by Tish Wrigley














All Polaroids by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979-84 © Андрей Тарковский/Ultreya, Milano  

Polaroid by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979-84 © Андрей Тарковский/Ultreya, Milano

13 thoughts on “Tarkovsky Polaroids

  1. I have this book! It is absolutely amazing both in the actual photographs and in the publication (good paper, size replicating polaroids, and notation). Like his films, each image is a work of beauty; fragile, haunting, and incomparably beautiful! Highly recommended!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also own the book ”INSTANT LIGHT”!!!! As well as the Polaroid book by Taschen. But Tarkovsky has such a unique quality to his polaroids!! GOD!!! When I saw pics in a magazine I had to have this book!! Plus I’m a huge fan of Tarkovsky. Seen all his movies but never read a bio of him…. Don’t even know if there’s a good one that,s been written yet… Or even better an autobio!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you seen Tarkovsky’s movies? Or heard about them? Andrei Rublev has a seen in which deaf monks are rendered blind by some merceneries or God freak, call it as you want… It’s astounishing… Tarkovsky with Fellini and Kubrik is amongst the best filmakers ever IMO of course..


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