Erik Kessels swaps 35,000 snaps for a few brass band LPs
The photo editor returns to the Festival Images Vevey biennial with a show focussing on collective creativity
Four years ago, at the 2014 Festival Images Biennial in Vevey, Switzerland, the Dutch photo curator, creative director and Phaidon author Erik Kessels filled the Sainte-Clair church with 350,000 amateur photographs. The installation, 24hrs in Photos, first staged in Amsterdam in 2011, was created to demonstrate the tsunami of image making that appears every day on the internet.
Next month, Kessels is returning to Vevey, though he’s looking not forward, but back into the kind of media we once used to record ourselves, in the age before high-resolution uploads.
In an exhibition entitled Group Show, Kessels will showcase his vintage collection of brass band and folk choir albums, each of which features a group photograph on the cover. Kessels revels in the amateur-ish nature of these images, which combine heavily clichéd visual motifs with truly sincere expressions of collective creativity.
The show will not only feature Kessels’ album covers, but also a specially edited soundtrack, which he has pulled together from the featured albums. Having shown us how individual, online expression delivered a tidal wave of imagery, perhaps it’s time to go a little further and consider what creativity was like when we worked on closer harmony.