Erik Kessels “24 Hours In Photos” featured at the Future of the Photography Museum, is a curated exhibition which is part of FOAM’s “What’s next?” programme exploring the future of photography in the 21st Century.
In The Future of the Photography Museum (Amsterdam), FOAM explores not only how photography can be shown in terms of an exhibition, but also how audiences can get involved. The exhibition offers a unique visual experience; presenting, participating, informing and plenty of activities for the audience to get involved in, such as a large magnetic wall where people can post up questions about the future of photography.
FOAM invited four guest curators (Kessels being one) each of whom has interpreted the theme on a personal basis, thus creating an intriguing glimpse into what could possibly be the future for photography with four distinct and very different presentations.
Erik Kessels installation “24 Hours In Photos” brings to visual matter how through the digitalisation of photography, the immense rise in picture sharing sites (Tumblr, Facebook, Flickr) and advances in technology (iPhones, Mobiles, Digital Cameras) means EVERYONE now has access and the ability to take photos and share them with the rest of the world. This has resulted in an avalanche of photos at our disposal.
The exhibition is made up of all the photos uploaded to Flickr over a 24-hour period, which Kessels then printed and dumped into the exhibition space. This resulted in mountains of photographs the audience can walk through, pick up and enjoy amidst the clutter of images we live in nowadays.
“We’re exposed to an overload of images nowadays. This glut is in large part of the result of image-sharing sites like Flickr, networking sites like Facebook, and picture-based search engines. Their content mingles public and private, with the very personal being openly and unselfconsciously displayed. By printing all the images uploaded in a twenty-four hour period, I visualize the feeling of drowning in representations of other peoples’ experiences.” Erik Kessels.
“24 Hours In Photos” has intense visual impact as well as great deal of material for thought. Having Kessels present the photos in such a way, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how many photos can come out of only 24-hours in the current age we live in! It’s difficult not to feel reflective about photography’s past. Before people had to work at creating an image, learn about F-stops, use light metres, and set up the camera with limited chances to capture that perfect moment.
It makes you wonder if all the advances in technology and the accessibility of photography are actually bad things? Can there be too many photographs in the world? Should there be a limit on how many photos we can share? Is there such a thing as a useless photograph? Do we need more editorial control? If anyone can take a photograph what will the function of a professional be? Will photography as a profession one day no longer exist? On the other hand, these advances could be the beginning of a brighter future for photography. Perhaps sites such as Flickr could be useful for up and coming photographers, a platform to share their work. Maybe the general ease of use provided by digital cameras, could allow people who are less able to express themselves or recognise new talent or maybe encourage us to think differently about photography. Photography could be just another means of communication, joining people across the globe.