Tiny Treasures Intimate amateur photographs collected and presented by David Hornback
For several years I visited Paris Photo and saw how each year the photos got bigger, and bigger. It seemed to be a marketing techniqueâ€”the larger the images, the more the galleries could charge for them. No longer did they cost $1,000, or $5,000, but now $150,000 and $250,000, or more, each. To tell you the truth, I got sick of seeing big images. When I imagined them small enough to hold in the hand, they turned out to be quite dull. I kept asking myself, why is bigger better? For me, intimacy is often nicer. What saved my mood and sense of pleasure were the Berlin flea markets, or the FlohmĂ¤rkte. In these chaotic place I often found dozens or even hundreds of amateur photographs shot with small, amateur cameras over the last 100 years. Some were in stacks, some in albums, and some loose, tiny, insignificant black and white photos, just sitting there, perhaps on the bottom of a box of junk, or falling out of an old envelope or small wooden case, or abandoned at the back of a table. These tiny photographs fascinated me. Unlike the giant images at Paris Photo, these were unpretentious, adoring, sweet, intimate,
personal photographs. And they were so full of life! But who made them? And even more interesting, who kept them for so many years as their own private treasures? Sometimes these photos were so small—the images no bigger than my thumbnail—but for someone they had meant something. And they had been saved and cherished for years, for decades. There were boyfriends, girlfriends, pets, outings to the German lakes. There were weddings, the groom in a tall black hat, the procession walking out across the countryside. There were funny photographs, beautiful photographs, trips to big cities, and views of small countryside cafes. Surprisingly, many of the photographs had great detail—obviously they were made directly from the negatives—contact printed—and the original negatives had been made with decent cameras. But even the images that were not so clean and sharp were often a pleasure to view. And someone had taken care of them over the years and perhaps because the blurry details of a face, or of the perception of a face, or could it be with the wind in the hair?—hard to tell—meant a great deal to the person who cherished the photo. I know the importance of feeling myself that comes from my own photographs of friends and family, and especially old girlfriends. It didn’t always matter if the photo were sharp or well composed. The happiness the photo brought me was more than reward enough. --David Hornback, Bilbao, Spain, February 2010
All photographs property of David Hornback book project ÂŠ David Hornback 2010 contact: firstname.lastname@example.org All small photographs in this booklet are printed at their actual size. The second reproduction of each is, obviously, enlarged to show detail. Just about all of the photographs here come from one of several Berlin fleamarkets.
Published on Feb 6, 2010