Sunday, 10 February 2013

Joachim Smidt- Celebrating photographic garbage

To say that Joachim Schmid is completely obsessed with photography is a fair and accurate statement. He himself suspects that “few people in the world have looked at more photographs” than he has. At one point he counted: he had looked at 10,000 photographs in one day alone. And he has maintained his manic pace since embarking on his career as a “professional looker” in the 1980s.
Using other people’s (often mundane) photographs, he creates artwork that is alluring, intriguing, and captivating. He revels in photographs that other people lose or throw away in public, especially if they seem to have been discarded with some animosity or intense feeling. He is very much a modern day anthropologist who tries to understand contemporary cultures by studying its visual garbage.

Another ingenious art project came out of a prank he started by posting what looked like a serious notice in a public newspaper about the ecological dangers of unwanted photographs and negatives. He had created an “institute” that offered to safely recycle or re-use dangerous film and photos. The Institute for the Reprocessing of Used Photographs became publicized worldwide, by chance, and Schmid was inundated with parcels of photos and negatives that people wanted to dispose of, safely.

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