About the archive and the publications
These publications were compiled from the archive of amateur photography that I have built over the past 13 years. Many of these images (some 55,000 altogether) were ordered into categories such as: religion, looking, everyday scenes, people taking photographs, forbidden photographs, migration, identity, etc.
In this first publication the images are loosely grouped by hand around the phenomenon ‘ground’, gravity.
The quality of the photographs on which I base my selection is often not the one intended by the maker. Only rarely does the photographers intention coincide with my fascination. Any photograph is in itself already surrealistic, but this becomes most obvious in non-artistic photography especially. The relationship between reality and the amateur photographer is uncomplicated and unambiguous. An ‘artistic’ photograph, however, always has this ambiguity as a reflection of the maker on reality or on the medium itself. The amateur doesn’t have a concept, but is at best interested only in the object of his photographic activities: his wife, his dog, a mountain landscape.
These images tell us something about the way we see when we look through the lens and about who we become when the camera is pointed at us. Unintentionally and unambiguously, a worldview has been recorded of roughly the second half of the last century. The analogue era of the amateur, who is often unintentionally successful.
Yes, we know, the borders between amateur and professional photography are becoming increasingly blurred.
Amateur photography has been adopted by and become a genre in its own right within photography, beside landscape and portrait photography.
And yet we only appreciate a certain type of amateur. As soon as the amateur comes too close for the professional’s comfort he is banned. This befalls the enthusiast who has fantastic equipment and often works at a high technical level. This amateur is eager to learn and is looking for measurable skills. He takes his camera and goes out there, looking for anything photogenic. He has an image inside his head, an image that has already been captured by another photographer, an image that he probably best knows as a photograph in the first place. He recognizes it and —all too human — wishes to photograph it just like that. Many professional photographers are no less human. They search for the things that at one time were declared photogenic by the pioneers and he photographs the same thing again. Photographs as recognition, and therefore nice and predictable.
Frido Troost (Concrete Matter) called this type of photographers the most neglected group of photographers in history.
This is why we especially appreciate the naïve, the authentic outsider. After all, the amateur can only be appropriated lovingly when there is enough of a distinction.