A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary. -- Andy Warhol
An obsessive photographer, Warhol took more than 100,000 photographs between 1977 and 1987, most with a SX-70 Polaroid Big Shot camera (which Polaroid kept in production just for Warhol) and larger-format black and white prints with a 35 mm camera. The Polaroids range from Hollywood personalities and business tycoons to casual acquaintances and children of patrons. Some served as source material for the large, silk-screened portrait paintings for which Warhol is famous.
In contrast to the controlled compositions of the Polaroids, the black and white prints reflect Warhol’s spontaneous approach to photography. Shot with a Minolta Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, the 35 mm format enabled him to take a picture without concern for focus or light levels. He took this camera wherever he went, satisfying his compulsive desire to document the world around him.
The photographs on view are a recent gift to the University at Albany’s collection from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in honor of the foundation’s 20th anniversary. The gift comes to the museum through The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program with the goal of providing greater access to Warhol’s artwork and to this important yet relatively unknown body of work. The museum is proud to be among a select group of college and university art museums across the United States chosen to receive this extraordinary gift for their permanent collections.