IMG MGMT: The Joy of Collecting…Found Photographs

by Brian Belott on August 12, 2008 · 4 comments IMG MGMT

[Editors note: IMG MGMT is an artist essay series highlighting the diversity of curatorial processes within the art making practice. Today's invited artist Brian Belott has a found audio radio show on WPS1 called "Lost and Found Sound". He contributes to the fantastic found audio blog The Audio Kitchen, produced by The Professor, and is represented by Canada New York.]

ZANY CARNIVAL OF CHARACTERS FOUND IN JUNK STORES AND FLEA MARKETS

I was bit by the collector’s bug years ago, collecting the alpha to omega of ephemera but no collection has been as exciting or as rewarding as found photos. Somewhere between a flying carpet ride and a magic Eight Ball the found photos appear out of the ether void of uprooted lives.


An authentic Berkowitz!!!

FOUND MISTAKE PHOTOS

Mistake photos are some of my personal favorites. There are a multitude of ways one can mess up a photo, though, below most of the examples are of fingers, hands or camera straps that got in the way of the perfect picture.

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PEOPLE’S COLLECTIONS

People’s prized collections sleep snug in their beds with vision’s of owner’s fingering in their heads. Hey, if they weren’t in their beds they were probably in a pile, smörgÃ¥sbord orgy style.

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STILL LIFES

Still lifes have a more clarified sense of purpose. Taken out of a case, a stack or messy pile of a collection, the specific item becomes a key player standing on the stage of a table or floor. Below is photo of Giorgio Morandi’s still life objects which he personally collected at street fairs in Bologna, Italy.

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Sometimes a still life is revealing the hand that life’s dealt you. Other times it seems like the photographer has emptied his or her pockets to brag about their social status.

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This person certainly has his junk in order!

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I heard Picasso was a monster, but………….

Lastly the third, the overall feeling of found photos; the candid, vernacular, amateur whatever name ya want to put on them is a potent ingredient. As a collage artist, I cut up and sample other artist’s work all the time. When I switch from using professionally published material to the homegrown, it becomes more intensely about the viewer’s personal memories. All of our Fourth of July’s rolled into a ball ,all the birthday cakes and wedding cakes smushed together, all the collective experience; it creeps up after long exposure to the Found.

Currently, most of us, enjoy a similar voyeurism into others’ wet film productions on sites like Flickr and Youtube. In addition to amateur bedroom vlogs and high jinks, youtube’s community has been able to dredge up all sort of debris from our culture’s basement.

The last item up for grabs is

1978 BETAMAX TOUR—- A YOUTUBE REPOST!!!!!!

I became obsessed with collecting one such piece of long forgotten video ephemora called TV bumpers. Bumpers are the “return after these messages” stills or animations that bridge a program to commercials. From there, I started collecting station I.D.’s, News opens and promos and even technical difficulties TV drills.

While collecting, one Youtube user who had tons of this kind of stuff also had posted a video tour of his own Betamax collection. Ray Glaser recorded the tour from his Ohio workshop in October of 1978. Unfortunately, because of all the copyrighted material he was posting, his entire account was closed. Luckily, I had already downloaded his video tour and now have re-posted the video for your enjoyment.

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  • Wendy White

    these rock.

  • Wendy White

    these rock.

  • http://www.jaxcal.org markcreegan

    YES! I was hoping Belott’s collections would be a part of this series. So good. the mistake photos are my fav. i am really enjoying this series btw.

  • http://www.jaxcal.org markcreegan

    YES! I was hoping Belott’s collections would be a part of this series. So good. the mistake photos are my fav. i am really enjoying this series btw.

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