On Point With: Rude Polaroids

Nominated for his second GLAM Award, unique photographer and event producer Ryan Rudewicz aka Rude Polaroids is making magic happen on both sides of the camera.

Thotyssey: Hello Rude! Thanks for chatting with us today, and congrats on your Best Photographer Glam Award nomination! This is your second, right?

Rude Polaroids: Hiya! Thank you so much. Yes this is my second nomination. Truly so honored!

Do you know what you’re gonna wear to the show? (I don’t!)

Oh God no. I keep trying to figure something out. I’d love to wear some Polaroids, if possible. Maybe a Polaroid jacket!?

Oh God yes!

So in case anyone out there doesn’t know, your last name is “Rudewicz” and you’re a nightlife photographer armed with a legit Polaroid camera… hence “Rude Polaroids!” Can you tell us about that camera, and why it’s your chosen instrument?

I have about twelve working Polaroid cameras, but I mostly stick to my SX-70 Sonar that was made in 1978. It’s my baby. I got into Polaroid over six years ago. I’d bring it to parties with friends, and I loved that I could hold a physical photo. We don’t get to do that a lot anymore with iPhones and digital photography! I think it’s very special to capture a moment in time, and see it instantly pop out.

There’s such a gritty, atmospheric richness in those shots that no digital tinkering could ever really replicate. By the way… what do you think about this Lensa AI image app that’s suddenly The Moment now?

I don’t love it. I mean, yes… it’s fun to see what it generates. But I think everyone should commission an artist to draw / paint / create a portrait of themselves! Support working artists instead of a computer bot!

So where is your original hometown, and how did you ultimately find yourself photographing the NYC nightlife children?

I grew up on Cape Cod! I found myself snapping nightlife because after quarantine / Covid I was so sick of taking photos of plants and myself that I started going out to “Two Stupid Queens” at Pieces with Kiki Ball-Change and Castrata! I would take their portrait after the show because I was nervous of taking it while they were performing; the flash can be bright, and I didn’t want to distract from their greatness. But then they both encouraged me to take as many and as often as I wanted! It snowballed from there, and I wanted to capture as much nightlife and drag as possible. There is so much magic in this community that people outside of it don’t always see.

That’s the truth! Have you ever had a favorite photography moment, or taken a favorite pic?

Ooof, that’s so hard. I love taking people’s portraits, but my favorite photos are usually “in the moment” ones–when a performer is giving it their all, and I snap the picture. I try and capture the energy in the room at that moment in time.

[Photo: Austin Ruffer]

You post the images digitally, but do you display the physical photos anywhere… like in albums or something? And have you ever had a gallery viewing?

I do have many Polaroid photo albums, but I also desperately need to organize them all. It’s like a Polaroid bomb went off in my apartment. And I have been a part of a few exhibits now that have featured, my work. This next summer, I will have my first full RudePolaroids gallery exhibit in Provincetown!

Excellent! I recall seeing some events like parties at the Q where you’d be taking pics your way, Jeff Eason taking pics his way, and Captain Wonder shooting videos his way. It’s always interesting to see all these unique perspectives of an event after the fact!

That is my absolute favorite thing: seeing all of the nightlife photographers at a show / party, and then see what we all captured the next day. Everyone has a different, unique eye. It would be so cool to have a gallery with everyone, and see the different perspectives.

Besides photographing the parties, you occasionally host them now as well… like “Sweet Spot” at the Rosemont on Wednesdays!

Yes, Sweet Spot has been a Wednesday night treat! The first and third Wednesdays of the month, you can catch myself and Brett Ricard hosting a night of shows, dancing and debauchery. Prima Love is our incredible hostess providing us with looks and shows, and our DJ Hope 808 spinning all night, 10-3am. We always have special guest performers as well! It’s a great mix of drag and dancing to get you through the Hump Day and into the weekend.

And this New Years Eve, you’ll be on board for The Empire Ball” at 3 Dollar Bill!

Hell yeah! We will be taking over all of 3DB, and ringing in the New Year! It’ll be a blast.

Anything to add?

I think just come to “Sweet Spot” on Wednesday, and 3DB for New Years! And Stay Rude!

Fair! Finally: what do you want for Christmas?

Free Polaroid film for life! That shit is expensive, lol!

Listen up, Santa! Thanks Rude!

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Rude Polaroids’ upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram (here and here) and Twitter.

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