For more than ten years, we have been passionately looking for images that are only small in size. Called “snapshots” or called vernacular, they are amateur photographs, mostly black and white silver prints produced by the thousands during the twentieth century.
Initially, we naively thought that the field of exploration would be limitless. Gleaned from the stalls of flea markets or from family albums, it seemed that it was enough to open the eye to pick one by one those photographic pearls that made our hearts beat. But little by little, we have seen the deposit dwindle. Of course, our eyes have sharpened over time, becoming more demanding, but there are other reasons for this impression of an endangered species. First, these anonymous images have gained legitimacy in the history of photography. Collectors seized them first and now they bloom in the books of photography and on the walls of the museums.
Moreover, the widespread use of digital photography tends to make the practice of printing disappear. Today, it takes almost 3000 images per second, posted on Instagram or other social networks, but in the absence of a fine selection and especially a transfer on a stable paper, the treasures that conceals this profusion are likely to get lost in the depths of hard drives that we do not have access to. Thus, the images we are looking for have become rare.
By opening the boxes where our collection gathered over the years rests, it was again necessary to sort our, to verify if with the time what had been set aside had not blunted the shine that had seized us. After storing the nostalgic, trait of character often associated with images with jagged edges, photographic errors, fun and other cuties, forty photographs were selected that touch us by their grace, their strangeness, and their freedom. That same freedom claimed by André Kertész when he said: “I am an amateur and I intend to remain one. Look at amateurs whose sole purpose is to collect a memory: that’s pure photography.
The selection of images presented in this exhibition is the second part of the rose elephant. For those who are intrigued by this title, let’s say that in the pink gallery, there is a certain idea of the dawn of photography. As for the elephant, it’s another story: it’s the memory of a wonderful photograph, found in the innocence of the beginnings, beautifully sold, convinced that we were to find the same, or its sister, the photo being reproducible by nature. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have never found it. This is one of the qualities of these images that makes them so precious: they are unique.
Marion & Philippe Jacquier
The Rose Elephant N ° 2
A selection of amateur photographs
May 15 – June 22
Light of Roses Gallery
12-14 Rue JJ Rousseau