Issue 43 — Summer 2005
Historically the least well known form of photography has been that produced by amateurs. While this must form the greatest quantity of pictures, of the most diverse subject matter, it is all but invisible. Timothy Prus at the Archive of Modern Conflict has set about collecting this material and here explains how decisions are made about what is saved from the photographic slag heap.
The incompetence of amateurs has been seen as a liberating counterpoint to the conventions of professional photography. David Evans traces a history of seeing the photographic mistake as a source of inspiration.
Amateur photography also plays a decisive role in being an engine for technological development of the medium. Damian Sutton and David Brittain look at the rise of cameraphones and the photoblog and describe the difference they have made to the way pictures are made and presented.
Eva Stenram presents us with seemingly persuasive family snapshots. But these images are re-workings of the artist’s family photographs that subvert familial hierarchies. In her portraits My Mother’s Eyes and My Father’s Hands and Hair she produces composite images modelling features of her parents onto herself. If family photography is about telling a family’s story, Stenram is the omnipitant narrator of her own family history.
Peter Kane re-photographs the views represented in his family photographs including the original prints in the frame. Scrutinising Kane's double images the changes that have taken place in the various locations in the intervening fifteen years, such as a missing seat or a repair to a wall, become apparent. Family snapshots often define our memories of particular places and times. The fixed nature of the photographs held in the photographer’s hand are contrasted with the continuum of real space and events.
Zuzana Hruskova presents us with notes and images from a series of modest investigations. For her, photography is a tool for understanding the world that can be applied in different circumstances and situations. A series of secretive photographs show her brother at his wedding, her parents home and objects discarded in Newcastle alleyways. This latter study brings her to the notice of the local police. Photographs left on computers at the local library give her another view of the public/private exchange of pictures through the internet and finally, in a subversion of normal archiving methods, she explores the possibilities of reconfiguring the images in her collection by bleaching the photographs to their base and storing the extracts in bottled form.
— The Editors