For over 30 years Joachim Schmid has collected and created new art work from discarded photographs. His earlier finds were from flea markets and photographs found in public places. His collection was vastly augmented when he advertising a fictitious ‘institute’ , The Institute for the Reprocessing of Used Photographs , that warned of the ecological hazard caused by superfluous photographs and negatives. He was flooded with parcels of photographs and negatives that people required the ‘institute’ to get rid of safely.
Once such package contained medium format negatives from a professional photography studio. However every negative had been cut into two but because each image had been shot under exactly the same conditions Schmid was able to create some really intriguing composite images by matching two disparate halves , see here.
Very Miscellaneous (1996)
The Country Life , a series curated by Val Williams , includes work by Schmid . Each commissioned artist was invited to form a response to an archived collection of photographs , all taken by George Garland and known as the George Garland Collection. The archive , held at the West Sussex County Records Office , documents a way of life rapidly vanishing, see here . The archive itself is rather fabulous to look through but Schmid’s reaction to the brief allowed him to create something quite profound.
Consisting of 70 b&w photographs portraits are combined with snippets of news reports from the era. The newspaper text is brief and only certain words can be read clearly see here and here , alluding I feel fading memory and loss. I really like this work , viewed out of context the ambiguity of the old photographs and incorporated text makes them especially poignant, see here . Each individual viewer is able to imagine and form an alternative , and more personal , narrative.