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Arles 2013: Album Beauty–Erik Kessels


Album Beauty is an ode to the vanishing era of the photo album as told through the collection of Erik Kessels. Once commonplace in every home, the photo album has been replaced by the digital age where images live online and on hard drives. Photo albums were once a repository for family history, often representing a manufactured family as edited for display. They speak of birth, death, beauty, sexuality, pride, happiness, youth, competition, exploration, complicity and friendship. Album Beauty is an exhibition about the visual anthropology of the photo album.

Erik Kessels is a collector of vernacular photography and has spent many a Saturday at outdoor markets and junk stores collecting these amateur narratives. He is often drawn to their imperfections. These flawed executions and/or scared appearances of old age tell another part of their story. According to Kessels: ‘A long and dedicated search through photo albums will occasionally reveal something less than perfection, something other than an entry in the competition to appear normal. And in these cracks, beauty may be found.’

Erik Kessels was born in 1966 in The Netherlands. He lives and works in Amsterdam. As an artist and photography collector Kessels has published several books of his ‘collected’ images: Missing Links (1999), The Instant Men (2000), In Almost Every Picture (2001-2013) and Wonder (2006). Since 2000, he has been an editor of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography. He curated exhibitions such as Foam’s inaugural exhibition Dutch Delight in 2001, and co-curated the New York Photo Festival in 2010, and From Here On at Rencontres d’Arles in 2011. Kessels is co-founder and creative director of KesselsKramer, an independent international communications agency located in Amsterdam, London and Los Angeles.

Erik Kessels. Album Beauty
Erik Kessels. 24HRS of Photos
From July 1st to September 22nd ,2013
Palais de l’Archevêché
13200 Arles
Everyday 10am – 7.30pm
8 €

Erik Kessels. Album Beauty
On Satruday, July 6th, 2013 at 10pm
Théâtre antique
13200 Arles

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