Micro photos Microscope drawings Lantern Slides Nude photos Erotic photos Travel photos Vernacular photos Astronomy photos
Anamorfose Cahier 2
All photographs weird and small
All photographs Weird and Small Photos come in all sizes, forms and themes
AnamorFose.be Nieuwstraat 11 B-8870 Izegem, Belgium Phone: + 32 476 49 19 71 firstname.lastname@example.org www.anamorfose.be ÂŠ November 2013 Xavier Debeerst
More and more scientific, vernacular and weird photographic items appear in exhibitions, museums, books and auction catalogues. They’re no longer unusual but still they’re not yet common. In visiting the Venice Biennale last summer I noticed that several artists are using scientific and vernacular photography in their work. The artists, authors and curators appreciate these forms of photography because they’re close to th the contemporary photographic research. There is also a similar sensitivity between the 19 century researcher and some contemporary artists, which results in collecting and using these unusual forms of photography. It corresponds with their research into the relation between form and content of an image. And the public seems to embrace it. Why? Not an easy one. Historical and weird photography is acquiring its place in the private photography collections and is finally considered to be a genuine form of art. More and more collectors are now in search of the very unique and rare images, the photos with a, sometimes very weird, history attached to them. One of the characteristics of this uncommon photography is that it helps to define photography. Testing the boundaries of a medium helps you understand its intrinsic force and possibilities. Hence our goal with the Anamorfose Cahiers: trying to define the intrinsic force and wide application range of photography. I hope you can appreciate our work. This Cahier focuses on sets of photos. It’s impossible to publish all the individual photos of a set. Therefore I invite you to visit the Anamorfose Website where you can find all the photos published as a slideshow or video. Xavier Debeerst, September 2013
The second Anamorfose Cahier is our new publication on the rich variety of photographic applications. As the August catalogue “All photographs Great and Small” was highly appreciated by the audience, we were challenged to compose a cahier focussing on the wonderful world of unusual photographic applications.
This year we have come across a wide variety of photographic applications in which there is an interesting relationship between the form and the image. We have really enjoyed the research into the pictural and historical relationship between both. We have found very strange objects. Photos which have become genuine objects. Yet, the image remains very important. The peculiar form adds an extra dimension to the image. The reproduction of an issue of The Times of 1859 is an interesting example. When the reproduction of the newspaper issue measures only a couple of millimeters it becomes something completely different. In this case, we’re talking about “A Photographic Curiosity” (John C. Stovin). You need a good microscope to be able to read the newspaper. An interesting microphotograph is “A family Group from Life” by J.B. Dancer (+/- 1850, UK). The microphoto is a reproduction of a Daguerreotype of a family. An unknown family. A common th 19 century family. Is this photo unique? Or part of a set? No idea? Imagine that you need a microscope to see the members of this family. Strange. th
We’re in the middle of the 19 Century. The century of rationalism. Photography is new and the microscope has become a part of the bourgeois living room. Combine the interest in microscopic slides and photography and you have microphotographs. Very small images, no larger than a microscopic slide. Sometimes Daguerreotypes were reproduced on these microscopic slides. Scientists and photographers continue their search for ways to capture the newly discovered worlds of the infinitely big (astronomy) and the infinitely small (the microscopic world). This is the era of big discoveries. These discoveries need be shown and distributed to other scientists, students and a larger public in general. Even on fairs. The magic lantern becomes as popular as the beamer is today. Lantern slides of discoveries are projected. Astronomical as well as microscopic discoveries. In the catalogue you will find astronomic lantern slides based on the work of James Nasmyth and E.E Barnard and microscopic lantern slides by Walter Tyler and other slide makers. Stereo photography was one of the first forms of photography. Stereo photography became a very popular form of entertainment in the early days of photography. A beautiful example is the box with anaglyphs of erotic scenes. Typically French. Another interesting example are the Cavander Cigarette Cards. Smokers collected these stereo cards and could order the Camerscope to view them. A very modern idea. Watch out when you visit the supermarket next time : there is a strong possibility that Disney launches a similar promotional campaign…. Alienation is a typical characteristic of these scientific images. Without title or explanation it’s nearly impossible to “read” and understand the image. One can enjoy the aesthetics of the image without knowing the real meaning of the photo. The same thing happens with negatives. Sometimes I don’t know what is more appealing the negative or the positive print. In this catalogue we have selected glass negatives which, in our opinion, are stronger than their positive prints. The box with glass negatives of Persia is a magical personal journey to this, in 1910, hardly known country. The author of these glass negatives might have been a member of the diplomatic corps or a military advisor. Several of the photos show soldiers and military exercises. Another part of the photos are ethnological. Not unusual for this period.
Photos come in all sizes, forms and themes.
Michel Simon was a well-known French actor and bohemian. He collected erotic objects and photos. Sometimes he took the photos himself. We present you an unique set of 20 of his glass negatives. Sixty four abstract microscopic negatives is a fantastic set of images. We have made a small video of this images. It shows the magical world of organic forms. It could just as well be a contemporary work of art. In vernacular photography you come across countless ways to present photos. If you look at the contemporary digital printing companies you will find forms of albums, frames and gadgets that th th originated in the 19 and early 20 century photography. Take for instance the beautiful musical photo album which plays a tune when you open it. The Italian folding screen with four portraits of family members. Father, mother and two sons. There is such a contrast between the portraits and the folding screen that it becomes almost surreal. It actually looks like a modern work of art. A wonderful Japanese wooden box with 41 small photos of the street life in Tokyo from the 1950s. Another wonderful object. Especially because of the red tissue that covers and protects the photos. A fragile world. This selection of objects and images is far from complete. There are so many more other forms of photography to discover. That’s one of the great things of the history of photography; it’s a never ending journey in time. Xavier Debeerst, August 2013 (updated November 2013)
Sources Lucerna – the Magic Lantern Web Resource (http://www.slides.uni-trier.de) Microscopist – Historical Makers of Microscopes and Microscope Slides (http://microscopist.net/) Victorian Microscope Slides (http://www.victorianmicroscopeslides.com/) The Magic Lantern Society (http://www.magiclantern.org.uk/)
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ÂŠ Anamorfose 2013