photographic index

ba digital photography london south bank university

found photography

Worth a visit (this friday for year 1) are the two exhibitions currently at the Photographer’s gallery, both dealing with the everyday, vernacular photography and in/formal archives: Joachim Schmid’s Selected Photoworks 1982-2007 developed with found photography (in the main gallery) and Found, Shared: The Magazine Photowork on photomagazines that publish found photography (in the cafe gallery).

Joachim Schmid presents projects developed with material found both in the streets and online, as well as reinterpretation of archives, both his own and institutional ones.

Works produced from material found in the streets include:

pictures from the street, joachim schmid
From the project Pictures from the street 1982-, Joachim Schmid

Pictures from the street (1982-)
: an ongoing collection of photos found in streets throughout the world, some reduced to fragments, others badly damaged, all placed on individual A4 sheets of paper pinned to the wall with the location and date of the finding on vynil lettering placed right underneath on the wall, fixing the finding to time-space coordinates that evolve to the moment of the exhibition with the latest finding as a polaroid from London, collected when the current exhibition was being installed.

Belo Horizonte, Joachim Schmid
From the project Belo Horizonte,Parque Municipal 1993-, Joachim Schmid

Belo Horizonte,Parque Municipal (1993), a black and white series of brasilian people’s photographs, developed after Joachim collected the negatives thrown away by street photographers that are the equivalent of photo booths, and produce “automatic photos” , right ont he spot for people to take away for id purposes. Enlarged and placed on a grid format, this found material gets a different dimension, like a detournement from street to gallery portraits.

Works produced with material from the Institute for Recycling Old Photos, an organisation created by the artist to recycle photography sent by people that want to dispose of their photographic possessions, include:

Statics, Joachim Schmid
From the project Statics((pinup postcards), 1998, Joachim Schmid

Statics (1995-2003), a series of collages produced by assembling shredded photos and photopublications following specific thematics such as baseball cards and pinup cards;

Photogenetic Drafts,  Joachim Schmid
From the project Photogenetic Drafts 1991, Joachim Schmid

and Photogenetic Drafts (1991), a series of collages produced from a collection of negatives from people’s portraits, sent by a professional photographer who sliced them in half to prevent them from being re-used; however their similarity of pose and framing suggested a possibility of creating combined portraits, juxtaposing front and back from different sitters;

people and things, joachim schmid
From the project People and Things 2006, Joachim Schmid

In addition to working with material found in streets, Joachim also scavenges the internet for the sort of vernacular photography that is so abundant online. He has assembled this in a multichannel digital photo installation (2006). with 853 images assembled in a 58 minutes loop titled People and Things: 853 Pictures for the 21st Century with the material organised in 22 groups of images which include students ids, real estate, bycicles and corporate photography.

very miscellaneous, joachim schmid
From the project Very Miscellaneous 1996, Joachim Schmid

Finally, two project revealing two diffferent approaches, complement the exhibition.Very Miscellaneous, (1996): created during a residency at the George Garland Archive at the West Sussex Records Office., is a recontextualisation of a collection of portraits of local people taken by the local studio photographer George Garland, with photographs taken by Joachim of pages from newspapers, where the effect blurr/sharp helps to abstract/ emphasise the newsprint.

From the project Thousand skies 2005, Joachim Schmid

Thousand skies (2005) is an archive of 1000 digital photographs taken by Joachim of helicopters flying over Berlin, when he was diagnosed with hyperacusis, a hearing problem that led to hyersensitivity to certain noises, namely of the helicopters; His painful reaction to the environment worked as a mechanism to take out his camera and shoot the skies everytime an helicopter crossed them above his head; part of the series are the many shots where he only succeded in taking the clouds, all images being shown in two monitors, as well as a small format 60 pages publication, produced to coincide with the exhibition.

Found, Shared: The Magazine Photowork is an installation culled from the archives of four magazines that publish found photos. All dealing with popular, found photography, they reveal however quite distinct stretegies. These are:

found magazine
Found Magazine (USA), is a participatory printed and online project ( set up by Davy Rothbarth, to collect contributions from people who find things and want to share them with others, these including a propensity for photographic material; a sister publication Dirty Found, set up by Jason Bitner and Arthur Jones, specialises on the porno side of found photography;

useful photography
Useful Photography (Netherlands), is a collaboration between Erik Kessels and Hans Aarsman, Hans Van Der Meer, Julian Germain and Claude de Cleen, and began publishing in Amsterdam in 2000. It marries usual A4 magazine size with an anti-glossy attitude, organising its issues around specific thematics that illustrate the vernacular uses of photography , such as shots of missing persons, or online photos of ebay articles. Edited about once a year.

Ohio (Germany), is a project by Uschi Huber and Jorg Paul Janka, the first six issues co-edited in collaboration with Hans-Peter Feldmann and consisting of photography only publications (no cpations, no editorial statements) of the editors’ personal collections of found photography, a concept that enlarged in the following issues to more systematic thematic collaborations with amateur photographers on topics such as corporate or hunting photography. Edited about twice a year.

Permanent Food (Italy-France) started as a collaboration between Maurizio Cattelan and Dominique Gonzalez Foerster (who now left the project), consisting of a photography magazine assembled from pages scanned from other glossy magazines, appropriating images from a variety of magazines circulating in the commercial market, it started in 1995 and is also available in a modified online version as Permanent Foam at:, allowing visitors to compile a website from found websites.

Filed under: found photography, joachim schmid, paula roush

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