© 2019 Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

Southend Museums Service is part of the Culture Section of the Place Department, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council


Southend artist and photographer Jemma Harwood combines abstract studies of the sprawling residential complex of Cité Rateau and experimentation using Polaroid photography.

Designed circa 1960 by French architects Jean Renaudie and Rénée Gailhoustet and situated in the depths of suburbia to the North of Paris, Cité Rateau was an experimental fusion of Brutalism and Postmodernism resulting in harsh lines, acute angles and unforgiving edges and was captured in the bright midday sun on 35mm film.

Polaroid photographs become a new form when taken apart and transferred to new textures and surfaces. The unique chemistry of Polaroid film means manipulation of the emulsified image can bring new shape and form to the composition after the photograph has been captured. Removed from its casing and separated from its negative the image is fragile; each one could be left with delicate creases, or even torn apart, whilst the remaining negative offers further chemical-based experimentation.

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