The Lens Justifies the Means

If you measure a photographer by the stature of his subjects, then Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is very big indeed. After all, he’s shot such luminaries as Jimmy Carter, Vaclav Havel, Hillary Clinton, and for this month’s issue of Texas Monthly, George and Barbara Bush (see “ The Revision Thing ”). And if you measure a photographer by the size of his camera—well, Greenfield-Sanders is huge.

Since 1988 the 45-year-old New Yorker has used a five-foot-tall, 235-pound Polaroid that he rents directly from the cameramaker, one of only six such cameras in the world. It works just like a hand-held Polaroid, except the pictures are much larger (20 by 24 inches) and “incredibly beautiful,” Greenfield-Sanders says, “with a certain realism to them.” And because they’re developed in about a minute, they can be viewed on the spot, giving subjects like the Bushes a chance to participate in the process. “Where we would have gotten ten minutes with them,” Greenfield-Sanders says, “we ended up with an hour and a half.” Now that’s access. Who needs a White House coffee?

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