A Root Through Davide Sorrenti’s Personal Polaroid Collection

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Jaime King, BluePhotography by Davide Sorrenti. Courtesy of IDEA

A new book from IDEA dives deep into the prodigious photographer’s personal Polaroid collection, sharing images taken between 1994 and 1997

Before his tragic death at the age of 20, Davide Sorrenti spent four years in a whirlwind of intense creativity. The Naples-born, New York-raised photographer was a pioneering force in the 90s fashion scene, injecting it with a gritty authenticity the likes of which had never been seen before. To many, he was considered to be the driving force behind the era’s “heroin chic” aesthetic: his subjects would often be slight, strung-out models and vagabonds shot on the streets, or in the rundown apartments, of New York.

“Davide’s photography was a reflection of the youth culture of the 90s; engulfed in rap music, skateboarding and ‘gangsta’ culture,” remembers his mother, Francesca Sorrenti, in a statement. “Almost 25 years have gone by since his passing and still the love for his persona and his work lives on.”

With this anniversary drawing closer, Sorrenti has teamed up with IDEA to celebrate her son’s short but immensely influential life. The result is a book of personal Polaroid photographs – simply titled Polaroids – taken by the photographer between the years of 1994 and 1997. “While locked down this year, I was looking at his Polaroids and reminiscing about a lifetime gone,” she said.

Polaroids is the second monograph of Sorrenti’s photography. The first was a more encompassing collection of the artist’s portraits, sketches and images, titled ArgueSKE 1994–1997, which was also published by IDEA. With Polaroids, however, the aim is to capture another, more intimate side of Sorrenti. “These pictures show the love he had for friends, family and the world that surrounded him,” his mother adds.

In another statement, IDEA’s David Owen says that it was vital to share more of Sorrenti’s work. “We had to do a Polaroid book,” he explains. “There was a great urgency to Davide’s work. Polaroids are fast; the result is immediate. They record moments in the moment. We are looking back on this period now after 20 years. Davide only had that time.”

Polaroids by Davide Sorrenti is available now on IDEA.