Perusing Walter Iooss Jr.'s Polaroids is a bit like leafing through Picasso's sketchbooks, catching a rare glimpse of the creative process in medias res. They are Iooss's rough drafts of portraits he has done in the last seven years; he shoots them to check his lighting and his setup, and he also shows them to his subjects as a way of sharing his vision. "Instant gratification is the appeal of the Polaroid," Iooss says. "In one minute I see the finished product, and the subject gets a thrill, too." Occasionally, the quick take surpasses the finished product, as in his Polaroid of Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman (opposite page). "The colors are soft, almost pastels, not as crisp or sharp as regular film," Iooss says. "Everything came together in that millisecond. I kept trying to replicate that shot with Troy, asking him to move his hands or his legs, but you can never take a picture twice. That's why the perfect Polaroid can be a disaster."
KEY BISCAYNE, FLA.