In the digital era there seems to be little space left for the old-fashioned photo albums. People tend to organize their pictures the digital way, which leaves one question to be answered: Where do all those old albums go? Erik Kessels has the answer for us, and you can check it out at FOAM in Amsterdam.
When I was a little girl, I used to spend many weekend afternoons on my grandmother’s lap. We’d leaf through old books with spider webbed see-through paper covered images. I was mostly interested in pictures in which my mother looked as young as I did! And when growing up, I realized that photo albums are an important part of my family’s heritage. My mom and dad also have a shelf filled with pictures. Some are holiday albums, others are full of everyday images of my parents, friends, and my sister. Just like my family, I still make albums out of my trips, write down where I was and who I was with. It’s a piece of nostalgia and a family tradition I want to keep going.
A lot of people choose not to fill up albums any more, well, not the analogue types. More and more sharing of moments is being done through social media and by digital organizing. Erik Kessels is a Dutch collector and loves everyday photography. He ventures out into the world to collect those moments most of us have forgotten, and in the past years he spent many weekends at garage sales and second-hand stores. He loves the imperfection of that 1970’s out-of-focus birthday picture and the accidental double exposure wedding pictures.
In the exhibit ‘Album Beauty’ you can see a lot of different photographs and albums. Huge stacks of old books are there to leaf through and the walls of FOAM (Photography Museum Amsterdam) are covered with distinguished pictures of young soldiers and poodles with flowers in their hair (nice contrast eh?).
For me, ‘Album Beauty’ is an ode to ‘ordinary’ photography. It’s an homage to those afternoons in my grandmother’s lap and the (forgotten?) art of cataloging time in albums. It also gave me a lot of hope. Maybe in 60 years, someone like Erik Kessels will find my albums and will appreciate my album beauty.
‘Album Beauty’ by Erik Kessels will be on display until October the 14th of 2012.