Heather Polley is a photographer and San Francisco, California, resident. Her photographic series "The Water's Edge" examines the complex relationship of human life with oceans and beaches. Polley shot Polaroid Type 100 Chocolate pack film at Point Reyes, Santa Monica, and Malibu to explore the coast lines and the structures that humans have built on them. The sepia-looking film for this series, the last of the stock made by Polaroid, creates a strong connection to an earlier era and suggests our forgotten youth - hinting at lost memories of childhood vacations and adventures, connections to peace and natural beauty.
Polley explains: "Residents of the West Coast often find themselves at the water's edge during vacations and long weekends - sometimes beaches or boardwalks, sometimes on hikes through wetlands and tidal zones. I am fascinated by the disconnect many of these places have from our everyday lives in cities and office parks. We leave work and often drive hours to reach them. We take photographs to take home with us. Why do we hold them separate? Is it because we wish to protect these places, or do we wish to leave them for a more fast-paced life soon after they have given us the peace that we sought?
It has dawned on me gradually, during my trips to photograph Point Reyes, and while on vacation in southern California, that I keep the very places that make me happiest at a distance, as a kind of 'other.' Almost by accident, this series has addressed my inability to merge those two parts of my life. For this project, I chose a special Polaroid "Chocolate" pack film, among the last stock the factory made before its bankruptcy. It lends itself beautifully to low light and water images. The rich sepia tones capture the kind of nostalgia we feel for the vacation places of our youth, and that I feel for the last of my dwindling packs of Polaroids."
Polley's work has been shown in juried exhibitions around the United States - including The Arc Gallery, San Francisco, and The Center For Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado. She has been published in The Oakland Tribune and The Contra Costa Times. Heather’s best-known works include the platinum-palladium series "Grace," about sacred architecture, the multiple still life series "Vanitas" and "Twice Removed," and a Polaroid landscape survey of Point Reyes.