ERIK KESSELS: appropriation of vernacular photography.

Gives photographs a different kind of importance, a new context. I have seen Kessels work on show at Arles during 2013.
Vernacular photography. Kessels used to run an advertising agency. Annabella Pollen is interviewing him.
Different approaches to same photographs!
Annabella Pollen talks first … Abandoned photographs, on sale in markets, possibly photography as it’s lowest ebb but people do buy discarded photographs. Her partner does house clearances which helps in finding material. What happens to these discarded photographs? Pollen feels a bit sad for these kinds of photographs and wants to salvage them. Unwanted collection of objects. Pollen a social historian trying to make some sense out of these kinds of images. Discovering photographs that she can restore. Pollen interested in the culture of photography, vernacular photography which comprises of more than 90% of photography.
Erik Kessels fascination started with work in advertising which he does not like in the way it pursues perfection. Collecting images for inspiration possibly publication.
Album Beauty is a homage to the photo album of the kind that many people made for personal and family reasons. Has made an exhibition of these forgotten family albums. Photographs of births, marriage, children … Fairly obvious tropes that also include pets, car, photographs of interior of house, flowers in garden, pictures of friends on holiday, photographs of spouse sometimes in sexy postures, photograph with and of their children, people who have been cut out of pictures,
Another Photobook he did was Mother Nature … Putting wife or girlfriend in front of flowers, sometimes wife at edge of photo, sometimes partially hidden … made an installation of this work.
What are the real stories behind these pictures!? They may not be as obvious as they seem. The photo album era lasted about 90 years. Keeping photos or making them is a way to come to terms with situations ….
Fall asleep for awhile as speakers talk !
Series of photographs of bits of a car … A classic car … Car exhibited with photographs of the car and all the seperate pieces … The car belonged to Erik’s father who likes to resort old cars like this … Exhibition dedicated to his father … Shows short movie of exhibition of car!
This kind of work Pollen finds uniquely emotional. Involves keeping a little distance from the work! More opportunities to show work these days.
Project around 55,000 images all taken on the same day. Favourite photo one with an error sticker stuck on it!
Unthinking button pressers? Easy to dismiss amateurs as like this but often even amateurs do think about what photographs they are making; it is after all, something that costs them money. One can examine these photographs with an eye that looks for the potential within any given image rather than dismisses them as meaningless and amateurish.
One series Kessels found was of a woman who had been photographed again and again. As the series continues, the woman gets smaller and smaller in the frame perhaps because the photographer started to loose interest or their relationship suffered in some way with the passing of the years. After putting an advertisement in a newspaper, Kessels eventually found out about the woman photographed and her husband who was the photographer; they had never had children.
A book of photographs of rabbit with different object placed on its head .. From a cup to a toilet roll, to biscuits, to eventual death of rabbit and burial, tombstone made from carrots …
Selfies from 1930’s onwards … None during the war …. All of same woman! they continued until the 1980’s Called The Woman who shot herself! Eventually it was sold to a gallery and she earned a lot of money. Still alive in her nineties and “shooting herself” The photographs are actually made of her taking a shot at a annual fair in a stand which makes a Polaroid of the one who is photographing.
Series of photographs, Polaroids, with a hole in the middle of each image that removes most of the content. All photographs were taken on the beach and show only partial information.  Comic perhaps albeit repetitive.
Another book, series, is about shooting one’s black dog and the photographic problems of doing so. Many shots just show black dog without detail not even the eyes!
Another series of photos by man who photographs his wife immersed in water … sometimes up to her waist, sometimes lying in the water but always clothed sometimes even in swimming pools fully clothed and carrying her handbag. Kessels collaborated with the couple and made a book of it. Even photographed the woman in a swimming pool with the book Kessels had made. Made large photos of the woman and stuck them around town. Then Stella Mac Artney appropriated these photographs but the original photographer did not take action merely commented that Stella did not look as though she was enjoying it very much unlike his wife.
Is there a need to make any more photographs? Someone asks. Jorgen Schmidt thinks like this; he actually graduated in photography without taking a photo at all. However, of course there is a need to take more photographs and the questioner is surely exemplary of someone who has become so involved in art photography that they have forgotten that photography also plays a vital role in today’s society.
Are there new genres of photography emerging? People are still photographing friends and family as they always have done.

One thought on “ERIK KESSELS: appropriation of vernacular photography.

  1. Pingback: PHOTO LONDON 2015 | Amano photographic studies

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