Working in FilemakerPro on a database, I like to give you a preview of an anthology in progress. The challenge is sorting and categorizing photobooks on found photographs, published since 1966. Sofar 61 titles have been collected and described. Erik Kessels, Joachim Schmid, Elisabeth Tonnard, Mariken Wessels and Peter Piller provided me with lists of their favorite book titles. Any suggestions regarding a potentially interested PUBLISHER?
What is the content and concept of a book in which the leading role is played by found photography? Be it a collection of photographs from a corporate archive, like ‘a street vendor photographic firm’ (074.III.A/ 074.III.B) or from a realtor (103.III.A). And what about re-made, re-created and re-vived antrophologists’s photographs, in the 1950s selected for the sake of scientific research and cultural exchange (067.IV)? Yet another book contains advertising photographs created by aircraft and weapons dealers (100.IV). Some bring together personal memorabilia, in part family-album (102.V.A) part scrapbook (087.III), others are displays of lots that were sold in an online auction (103.III.B). In one case the content is a chronicle of an escape attempt in the former DDR (106.V). In another case the book is ‘a container for unstable images’, made by a male nurse who served at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (108.III). In some cases fake archives are created with self-made images (107.II).
Booktechnical information, references and quotes are sorted in fields. Different categories are created, related to strategies of editing and selecting. Indexes are made. A typology of photobooks on found photographs is the result. In which subcategories indicate e.g. the different genres of photography represented in these books, from ideological war photography to encyclopedic imagery. Also noted is the provenance of the material retrieved, be it a menu card in a Chinese restaurant or reproductions out of books on Adolf Hitler from a private collector, a former pathologist.
What all books selected for this anthology have in common is that they are compiled with humor and intelligence by the artist/editor. These publications are the result of attemps to deal with, and new artists’ strategies towards, the narrative and authorship. And in doing so, the documentators, the editors, are working towards shifting intersections between art-as-photography, advertising, the private versus the public, and politics. These editors take into account the vast quantity of images that western culture produces, be it corporate reports, family albums from World War II, or stills from old home movies. In many cases a vast quantity of images is being collected by the artists, sorted over the years and categorized within the personal archive.
Yellow Pages Las Vegas
Year of publication: 2010
Type of binding: hard bound cover
Number of pages: 154
Number of illustrations: 151 black&white [toned]
Type of illustrations: advertising photography
Provenance: Yellow Pages, Las Vegas (2000); personal archive Andreas Schmidt, London
Type of reproduction: offset
Print run: 100
Printer: on demand
Editor/documentation: Andreas Schmidt
Designer: Andreas Schmidt
Category: COLLECTIONS of found photographs/film and SELECTIONS of vernacular photography/film
Collection: Mirelle Thijsen, Amsterdam
‘Between 1998 and 2004 Andreas Schmidt undertook numerous and occasionally dangerous trips to Las Vegas, Nevada whilst working on his first photo book Las Vegas, published by Hatje Cantz in 2005. During one of his stays in Sin City he acquired a copy of the July 2000 Yellow Pages, Las Vegas. Almost every photograph of the one thousand nine hundred and ninety one pages strong original was re-photographed under extreme, non-scientific conditions by Schmidt approximately 10 years later in his studio in London. Yellow Pages Las Vegas is the extraordinary result.’ From: Andreas Schmidt, ‘new books by Andreas Schmidt’, http://abcoop.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/new-books-by-andreas-schmidt/ posted September 3rd 2010, consulted on March 29, 2012.