Published by Phaidon
This collection is born out of a recent trend towards found (or lost) pictures that has led to such publishing ventures as Found Magazine and FLOH, a particularly beautiful book by artist Tacita Dean. Is the fascination for Photo Trouvée down to our need to relate our individual take on the world to that of “strangers”? Or is it purely voyeurism or simple curiosity? Are we aware that our new digital era might minimise the possibility of this kind of collection, as we hit the delete buttons instead of keeping the “rejected” pictures in our storage boxes ?
Reading this book is like walking past houses at night time and watching through the brightly lit windows of other people’s homes to try to grasp a scent of their private everyday moments. It is like a small anthropology of the “ordinary”. Some of the pictures send you off into a daydream, wondering what their subjects were like, where they were, and what were they possibly doing at the time of the picture. Sometimes these amateur photographs reveal the intention of the person taking them and their clumsiness or carelessness shines through in unexpected ways: this is what gives them their particular charm.
The book is well designed, the personality of each photograph is preserved, not disturbed by any words or captions on their page; one single picture a page. The photographs are printed quite small on the A5 page, and although I believe in small prints for their intimate quality, I think some of the pictures here deserve a larger format.
A couple of pages of captions at the back of the book would have been useful to nourish my interest: simple information like the name of the place where the picture was found, for example.
The choice of the pictures is rich and various, but sometimes feels random. The talent of Michel Frizot, one of the world’s most respected photography historians, and Cedric de Veigy, is well demonstrated in this publication, yet the book lacks coherence and it was difficult to distinguish its 18 sections.
If you are looking for a constructive narrative photobook then this might not be your thing. The beauty of this publication is the fact that each picture has its own history, and stands almost a chapter of a book itself. The proverbial one thousand words, perhaps.
Unfortunately, fewer and fewer amateur photographers get their snaps printed these days. Their “lost” pictures will remain forever trapped in their hard drives.
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