How far would you go to save the memories that aren’t even yours? Well, for the Frenchman Thomas Sauvin, it means going through piles and piles of discarded items and garbage.
Thomas Sauvin fancies himself as a collector and curator. In the course of years that he has been based in China, he has salvaged around 500,000 images and negatives from an illegal recycling center in Beijing.
The photos roughly cover a period of 20 years staring from around mid-1980, when silver film picked up in popularity in China, until around mid-2000, when it got over shadowed by digital photography.
The photos – all of which feature random and nameless faces — range from family trips to everyday scenes and they all posses a certain lack of spontaneity that Sauvin finds amusing. As he tells the The Guardian:
“In the western understanding of photography now, we see a good picture as something that is shot discreetly, without the person being aware … something where you steal the moment.”
To get a better understanding of Sauvin’s project, here is a documentary made by Emiland Guillerme along with a more recent follow-up video.
The project is currently on exhibition at the Format International Photography Festival until April 7th.