When Andy Warhol died in February 1987, he left behind a trove of almost 60,000 photographs, the bulk of them unknown to all but his inner circle. They consisted mostly of two kinds: 3 x 4 inch Polaroid images and 8 x 10-inch black and white prints. Ironically, for an artist whose claim to fame lay in his use of serial repetition, Warhols photographs were mostly unique affairs, whether the inherently singular Polaroids or the typically one-offack-and-white prints made to specification in Warhols darkroom by personal assistants.
The exhibition, Andy Warhol: Behind the Camera includes 60 works drawn from the 150 photographs gifted to the University Museums of the University of Delaware
by The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy program (January 12 June 5, 2011). It is the first time these photographs have been publicly shown. Prime examples of Warhols obsessive camerawork, they illustrate the artists largely unknown achievements in photography, which are as distinctive as his celebrated paintings, prints, and films.
The work of some photographers is forever identified with the particular cameras they used; Henri Cartier-Bresson and his state-of-the art Leica come to mind. This is true also of Warhol, who loved certain cameras to the point of obsession. But unlike fine-art photographers who typically master complicated equipment, Warhol invariably opted for devices marketed to the home consumer with as few controls as possible. Whether expensive Japanese miniature cameras or cheap Polaroid models, what mattered for Warhol was the lack of photographic knowledge required to operate them.