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Women I Never Knew No. 1
5 x 7 in.
Perfect bound soft cover
Printed on Mohawk Superfine paper
Designed & published by Ampersand
Printed & bound in Portland, Oregon
Edition of 100
Published on the occasion of a collaboration with Dunderdon Workshop, NYC, which is located at 25 Howard Street in SOHO.
Numbers 1-10 are signed & include an original real photo postcard from the collection (shown at left). Click here to take a look at other available photographs.
Women I Never Knew No. 1 is the first in an ongoing series of publications that explore sexuality & nudity in found photography. The title itself is both a play on words & the statement of a simple fact: I never knew these women until I found photographs of them. Inherent in the act of collecting found photography is an element of voyeurism, of stumbling upon the record of a moment that we are not supposed see. When the photograph in question is sexual or erotic, the sense of invading a moment that was essentially private is heightened. This dichotomy of a private act made public through a mix of amateur photography & passing time is fascinating. It compels us to assume that by the very act of taking these photographs the people in them (& the photographer) wanted them to eventually be seen, evening if the moment of unveiling took decades.
No. 1 in the series is a curated selection of real photo postcards found in the Bay Area. Held together in an old envelope simply marked photos, I assume they represent the efforts of one collector. Dating from the 1920s & taken by unknown photographers, the staged quality of these images suggest they were intended for circulation, even as the act of owning them was considered illicit & kept hidden. In this, they differ slightly from the photographs taken by the bedroom pornographers alluded to above. Nonetheless, their snapshot quality marks a transition point from the work of trained studio photographers to the amateur efforts of men & women with snapshot cameras. They serve as a kind of template, a jumping off point for a type of photography that paralleled the development of family photos & has evolved into the unchecked exhibitionism of the internet age.
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