Polly Chandler

Polly grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated with an MFA in photography from Southern Illinois University.  She has exhibited her work nationally and her photographs have been published in magazines such as PDN, American Photo, Shots, Rangefinder, Diffusion, B&W Magazine, and more.  Polly now resides in Austin, Texas where she couldn’t be happier.

About her body of work, she says: “There are those occurrences that sit with us and settle into who we are.  Some are more forceful than others.  I am seeking to explore those identifiable instances that seem to slow time, and through my photographs, share the understanding of these moments.

You Build It Up, You Wreck It Down

The Series in this body of work is a collection of narratives based on my personal interpretations of the music and lyrics by the singer-song writer, Tom Waits. Over the past many years I have endeavored on a project that filters and renders my experiences, emotions and quest for purpose, through my understanding of his music. It is often simply a single line from a song that will spark an idea.

The images are perhaps my interpretation of the essence of the song, and how it represents an experience in my life.   I will pluck out a single line, usually, that I can relate to and visualize it into my interpretation of my remembered reality.

All images were photographed with a large format 4X5 inch camera, using the now discontinued Polaroid Type 55.  No digital manipulation was used.  It’s very important to me to use film.  With the digital age of photography often comes the loss of the knowledge and craft of making an image through the camera, on a single sheet of film.

The photographer must understand all of the technical aspects like the back of their hand, and then allow that knowledge to make creative choices while photographing.  Nothing is an afterthought.  Film is not a RAW file, covering for every possible mistake that could be made in post-production.  The image-maker is literally in that “Decisive Moment” at the point when they press the cable release.

As apposed to digital photography, where often you can shoot thousands of images quickly, allow the camera to “think” for you, and then fix any mistakes in post, shooting with film requires one to slow down, truly rely on the craft and artistry of image making.

There is nothing more satisfying that knowing I worked really hard to create an idea on film, to know how difficult the process was.  If it were easy, it wouldn’t be fun.

Polaroid Type 55 Film shot with a Toyo View Camera




Along An Icy Pond


Lay Your Head Where My Heart Used To Be


The Part You Throw Away


The Sea Turned Into A Mirror


We All Want To Know The Same Thing


What He Done You Cant Give It A Name


Whats He Building In There


Why Do I Leave All This Madness In The Nightstand Drawer


You Dreamed Me Up And Left Me Here


Youre The Key That Got Lost


All images © Polly Chandler



An  Edge of Humanity Magazine Project

CURATOR | Joelcy Kay