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Joachim Schmid


Other People’s Photographs


Between 2008 and 2011, Joachim Schmid compiled a series of 96 print-on-demand books of amateur images from a wide range of everyday life. Images from photo networks such as Flickr were laid out in an archive of contemporary “snapshot photography“ in the age of digital technology and online photo management. Each book addresses a specific genre and highlights recurring patterns in popular photography. The concept follows an encyclopedic approach that is endlessly expandable. The selection is neither systematic nor does it follow an already vouched concept. The basic structure of the archive reflects today’s common handling of images in a multifaceted and contradictory way according to the motto “observe and discover“.

Joachim Schmid, “Flashings“, from the series: “Other People ́s Photographs“, 2011

Anmerkungen zum Einfluss des World Wide Web auf die Fotografie

“Write something…“ Facebook prompts me to start communication with a new friend. “What are you doing right now?“ I scroll over the photos of my new friend’s last 27 events and non-events. “Write a comment…,“ I’m prompted again as I skim her friend’s albums. “Like“ I comment.
What does the www bring to photography? – A new chapter in the history of amateur photography including endless resources for publication, an image bank without end that encourages appropriation without end, poorly resolved images – most of them immaterial and without editorial care, the gapless view from above on our world and in our gardens – How inconsequential is the Internet still for photography?
The initial situation is an unrestrained mass of (mainly private) images, an increasing area-wide geographical registration of the world and the registration of its inhabitants (on the one hand databases fed by offices, on the other hand a registration of internet users (“everything you need to know about Joachim Schmid…. “; friendship suggestions based on email addresses), shortest transmission and publication times, constant availability, new genres of images, new aesthetic moments and the question of the viewer – who are those who see our images? (Ruth Horak)

Joachim Schmid, “The Picture“, from the series: “Other People ́s Photographs“, 2011

Aneignung und Verweigerung

An obvious reaction to the image invasion on the net is the appropriation of the circulating image material on the one hand, or the refusal (of mass and short-termism) on the other. Consumer instead of producer: sifting through and selecting images is the beginning of this process. Download, save, edit. A logical consequence of appropriation is the series – Joachim Schmid has made 96 books, Thomas Ruff 149 Nudes, Herwig Kempinger an open-ended number of construction sites.
Seriality is often accompanied by an emphatically slow, detailed, and analog execution as a countermeasure to the immaterial and permanently available net image: the old “book“ format, the large-format framed print, or the watercolor. Part of the appropriation is also the citation of the aesthetics brought by the new means of communication, the aesthetics of low resolution: blur, pixels, ascii code, small image formats (in the style of thumbnails), or new text types (based on an email conversation, for example) … conversely, one encounters tools associated with terms from the analog age such as “slide show“ and “photo album“.
Finally, unrestricted possibilities of publication are available again: What until recently had to be done with great effort (application, editorial selection, printing, etc.) now meets a multitude of possibilities – which on the one hand brings the advantage of the democratic, on the other hand much remains without selection and meets the uncritical comments of accomplices. Wherever it only makes sense somehow, articles and pictures are tagged with the call to comment. It is striking that the comments on written articles (in the daily press, for example) are far more differentiated, informative and serious than on picture material – language reacts better to language? while the constant call to activity – “Write something“ in relation to pictures in quite a few cases brings no more than “Like“ or – somewhat more enthusiastically: “Amazing pic!“ (Ruth Horak)