With the rise of the digital age has, in my eyes, come the sad demise of the printed photo. These days my photos rarely make it beyond the confines of my screen, despite numerous resolutions to do otherwise. However, this exhibition got me thinking – what if I did print out all my photos? The fact that I can’t think of enough white walls suggests that I take too many photos… has digital made us unselective in our approach to photography? Or have we become too absorbed in representing and sharing our lives with others, through the medium of photos? Either way, this installation by Erik Kessels on show at Foam Amsterdam brings up a lot of questions and memories for visitors as they were encouraged to walk over the mountain of photographs and curiously flick through them – like an univited guest to an private Facebook account.
Kessels printed out all the images uploaded to Flickr, Google and Facebook in a 24 hour period – the logistics of achieving this troublesome enough, but the whole exhibit points at the veering pressure of a 21st Century data overload, a photo avalanche. The installation‘s rubbish-dump/hectic mash of personal images, I think stresses that such an ‘update and share’ lifestyle is unsustainable, and the task of shifting through data is increasingly taxing and haystack-needle symbolic. Nevertheless, as Creative Review comments, there is something democratic and collaborative about seeing a day’s worth (incidentally over a million) photos en masse. With most phones now including cameras, maybe this is the start of some photography revolution – where ordinary sites and objects are reappraised and valued for what they are.