Erik Kessels: Album Beauty and 24HRS of Photos
Location: Palais del’Archevêché.
During Arles’ Black Festival, as we all went through many exhibitions, I fell in love with the large and beautiful images of thousands of photos collected by the vernacular photography collector who took time to collect family album photos from garage sales and markets in different places around the world. His exhibit included many series of oversized photo albums and frames of photos. His work was very impressive because of the set up and the simplicity of collecting photos, something we all do regularly without thinking much of.
Kessels’ main goal for his work was to tell about the photo album era and how it is now being replaced by digital photography being posted regularly on social networking sites and simply living in hard drives. He also wanted to show how people can find beauty within old and forgotten photos that many families had stored away with nobody to admire.
I learned how scale can make a difference in how a person views an image. Since his gallery involved many enlarged giant photos and photo albums, I felt intimidated by their size. I also kind of felt in place, because I was the size of the item I was photographing. It was very mind blowing.
He also had another corner to his exhibit that was called, 24Hours of Photography, which was an entire room with a large pile of thousands of photos that are normally uploaded onto social media sites within a 24-hour period of time. His point was to show what we normally do in today’s society and how big of a difference it is to a regular photo album that houses a much smaller amount of photos.
One image that caught my attention most of all was that of a large frame of a young woman smiling, and a smaller photo of an older woman smirking in a frame in front of her. The image was beautiful to me, because it showed such a contrast in age, size and time. I was also drawn to it, because the young girl was just so beautiful.