Robert Polidori was born in Montréal, Canada, in 1951. At the age of ten he moved to the United States, where he has since remained. From 1970 to 1972 Polidori worked as an assistant to the filmmaker Jonas Mekas at the Anthology Film Archives producing a number of Avant-garde films in the early 1970’s. The time spent working under Mekas heavily influenced Polidori, helping to shape his unique approach to photography. In 1980 he received an M.A from the State University of New York in Buffalo N.Y, where he turned his attention to still photography.
Polidori’s career as a photographer began in earnest in the mid 1980’s when he was given permission to document the historic restoration of the Château of Versailles. Since his first visit to Versailles Polidori has returned on a number of occasions, continuing a love affair that endures to this day. Working in opposition to Cartier-Bresson’s notion of the “decisive-moment,” that singular moment in which to capture a truth, Polidori prefers instead to work with the qualities of beauty and stillness of a space effected by its history and its present. As such, his conception of rooms as metaphors and vessels of memory is evident. He produces these interior shots by means of a single long exposure in natural lighting. His tonally rich and seductive photographs are the product of a view camera, long hours waiting for the right light, and careful contemplation of the camera angle. Polidori uses large-format sheet film, which he believes produces superior images to digital photography. While pursuing his career, Polidori also worked as a staff photographer with the New Yorker magazine from 1998 to 2007.
Robert Polidori won the World Press Award in 1998 and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography in 1999 and 2000. In 2009 he was honored with a major mid-career retrospective at the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal . To date, Polidori has published eleven books and his work are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.