Monthly Archives: November 2011

         The aim of log. is twofold. First, to give a factual description of content and form of photobooks in the tradition of new documentaries that have been signaled in the past calendar year. Taking into account strategies of editing and selecting, be it self-made photographs, or  images found in public and private archives, reproduced post cards, amateur photographs from family-albums or documents from corporate inventories. Second, to give insight in the reception of the photobook. HOW has the book, over time, been received and assessed by critics, in online art reviews, in daily newspapers and professional magazines, on blogs?

James, Jennifer Georgina (2010) was launched during a book salon at the University of Amsterdam, Bijzondere Collecties, just after the summer of 2010. Two of the main actors, James and Jennifer, were present. Georgina, their daughter, was at the time studying in the US. Bookshop Nijhof & Lee, in fact just recently located in the same university building, has the most accurate content description of this non conformist artist’s book. Designer Irma Boom was sharing with the public, the many different stages of the unusual book design, showing several of 17 dummies. 1.136 postcards have been written between 1989-1999, all related to one family. One postcard for every day they were apart. A rather uncommon story of the Butler’s family unfolds in the notes, handwritten and mailed from mother to daughter. All taking place during a 282.000 miles trip in the first ten years of Georgina’s life. The journey was undertaken by James and Jennifer to fight James’s addiction to alcohol. The production of this remarkable book took two years. Costs: over 250.000 euros. This unusual ‘taxi-yellow’ volume, large and heavy as a brick, fits into a cassette. Most striking is its unique and innovative binding method: a threefold embossed  spine. The volume, in a limited edition of 999 copies was sold on the day of the presentation for 666,00 euros. The selling price was, then, 999,00 and is now 435,00 euros. The story unfolds through 210 reproduced postcards, 1 on each page, a selection of family photographs and a series of therapeutic dialogues. The transcription of the dialogues was an idea of Irma Boom. In fact, conditional for her taking part in the project. The book is a ‘memoir’, a physical evidence of a family affair, made public. The 210 selected postcards, some are handmade collages or family pictures, are followed by 21 unedited dialogues, conversations that were recorded 10 years later, in the hope to achieve some sort of closure. The volume is prompted by Georgina’s 21st birthday in celebration of which the 210 selected postcards have been reprinted and transcribed. The content is divided into 6 chapters: ‘beginning’ is a biting introduction by Jennifer. ‘I took him on road trips to dry him out’; ‘The postcards’ – reproduced in landscape format is text and image and transcription, each on a separate page – and many more in thumbnails; ‘stop’ is a statement by James, looking back on rehab, anger, ‘the battle with the bottle’ since 23rd August 1999; followed by ’21 conversations’ between the family; ‘perspective’ is written in 2006 by, then, a 17-year-old Georgina. ‘I would stay with my English nannies in the south of France while my mother fought the drinking in a foreign country’. [..] ‘She sent me a postcard every day, many of which she made herself. On one side she glued pictures, maps, articles, or invitations. On the other side was the lesson of the day. “Don’t ever be dependent financially”. “Rely on yourself first”. ‘Don’t mary a man with crummy shoes”. “A woman must never seem in a hurry”. The volume opens with three stately portraits by Erwin Olaf of James (1936), Jennifer (1945) and their daughter Georgina (1989). James Butler is the son of Richard Austin Butler, Chancellor of Exchequer.  Jennifer is the adopted daughter of model Orlene Gladstone (Miss Camel). In the 1960s and 1970s Jennifer herself was modeling for Chicago’s American and later became a writer. Her father, George Gladstone was leading a medical practice in New York.

From ‘Beginning’: ‘In these cards there are 142 prison visits with and without HRH the Princess Royal. Whole generations of ants in picnic sandwiches. There are 37 references to Spanish Farmacies to buy Grippal, the only miracle cure for flu. 2 bullfights. 1 speeding ticket. 53 unpaid parking tickets, 13 cancelled flights. Delayed trains. Many ferry crossings then, sous la manche, the Channel Tunnel. When launched Pavarotti sang. 1 bomb scare. 1 puncture. Petrol empty twice. 205 church stops, candle after candle lit in hope. Hidden drink, broken promises. French stamps more elegant then British, but British stamps more quirky. In those 10 years we took 205 flights, we drove 268,162 miles. We traveled to save James and to shield our daughter from drink’s indignities’. (6-7)

Conversation one started 28 November 2009 in the process of surviving together. One quote from each family member:

Georgina: ‘What if I woke up at forty and I find out I ‘m like Daddy’? (935)

James: ‘And Mumm didn’t even know how to get a cork out of a bottle’. (936)

Jennifer: ‘Why do you like putting me down? Why can’t you acknowledge what I have done instead of putting me down in such a nasty tone?’ (944)


For more reflections on the making of JJG, its design, and an interview with Jennifer, which is a revelation in itself.

James Jennifer Georgina has been reviewed mainly in the art world, like in Mr. Motley , a review in Dutch, in which the different postcards sent by Jennifer are categorized.

Herewith I invite you to participate in a book project and create together AN ANTHOLOGY OF PHOTOBOOKS ON FOUND PHOTOGRAPHS. The publication will be based on both the advice by experts in the field (ERIK KESSELS, JOACHIM SCHMID, MARIKEN WESSELS, PETER PILLER, ELISABETH TONNARD a.o. – providing lists with titles) and YOUR personal selection, obtained through social networks. The dead-line for this call for proposals is December 31 2011, 00.00h.

A book project without precedent: based on open access and a democratic selection. Each of you provides ONE TITLE of a photobook, zine or periodical fitting within the thematics. See the OUTLINE below. Choose one seminal photobook (from the 1970s and onwards) in which FOUND PHOTOGRAPHY is the main actor and send the title to IPhoR, by email, or in a post feedback. Depending on the research process (2011-2012), the funding and the potential interest of publishers, the result will be made public in the shape of an enhanched online publication and /or a commercial edition. Your name, as a contributor to this anthology, will be mentioned in the printed / electronic version of the final publication. strategies, photography & archives: An Anthology of PHOTOBOOKS on FOUND PHOTOGRAPHSThe research project Artists’ Strategies Photography & Archives addresses the increasing interest in the advancement of art-practice-as-research during an era when the boundaries of producing, presenting, distributing and collecting photography are shifting on a global scale. The contextualization of vernacular and art photography and genesis of images archives in contemporary artists’ practices, in some cases in order to re-construct historical narratives, in others to construct new histories, are focal points of this anthology. The selection includes contemporary case studies (ERIK KESSELS, JOACHIM SCHMID, ALEKSANDRA MIR) and photographers’ strategies regarding both collective memory and cultural identity, involving archive retrieval and re-finding both private and public documents (SUSAN MEISELAS; CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI; PARISSA DAMANDAN), fake and constructed archives (JOHN BALDESSARI; THE ATLAS GROUP), and collections of found photographs, in both books, periodical magazines and annual reports (USEFUL PHOTOGRAPHY; OHIO; RINGIER annual report). The project focuses on the extensive changes in contemporary photographic practice, from image maker to visual historian, related to strategies by artists such as PETER PILLER and MARIKEN WESSELS.
Perspectives on the use of archives and collections of found photographs in contemporary photography are illustrated by a large selection of astute statements (found texts) from practitioners and theorists, related to the selected publications, such as Allan Sekula, Hans Peter Feldmann, Hans Aarsman, KesselsKramer, Walid Raad, Joan Fontcuberta, Lenny Gottlieb a.o. The eye-catcher of this project is an inventory of covers from reference books, monographs, zines, and self-published books on found photographs that have appeared in Western Europe and the United States since the [1970s]. File catagories will be created such as: collections of found photographs and selections of vernacular photography in books, periodicals and zines; publications that include found photographs that were then altered and re-worked; books in which found footage is juxtaposed to self-made images by the author photographer. Yet another category includes – in some cases in monumental and comprehensive publications – compiled and edited typologies, indexes and encyclopaedic grids, mapping processes of life, time and things (GERHARD RICHTER, COR DERA, BATIA SUTER). By means of these collections and re-contextualization of random photographs the artists are thus creating a way of dealing with the surplus of imagery in the modern world.

File categories

[1] COLLECTIVE MEMORY & CULTURAL IDENTITY: re-constructed historical evidence and personal narratives
[2] CONSTRUCTED histories and FAKE archives
[3] COLLECTIONS of found photographs and SELECTIONS of vernacular photography in books, periodicals & zines
[4] Re-MADE, Re-WORKED, Re-VIVED found photographs
[5] JUXTAPOSITION of found footage and SELF-MADE IMAGES
[6] Typologies, indexes, encyclopaedic grids

The possibilities offered by the Internet will give researchers and teaching staff broad and easy access to scientific/scholarly sources. It is not only publications that will become available but also the underlying data, models, and algorithms. Adding the underlying data and models to an article m…