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"The moment they click that shutter, the magic is there. And that's what I look for."
November 29, 2010 1:25 PM   Subscribe

"When I look for images, I look for something that makes you almost uncomfortable in your own skin—something that makes you observe more intently," Foster says. "That's when I know I have something that's more than just a snapshot." John Foster is a graphic design and communications professional by day, and joined by his wife as collectors of "vernacular photographs" by night. Their collected photographs have been featured at art galleries and museums, and John has worked with others to curate outsider art shows. If that wasn't enough, his collections extend beyond found photos, as previsusly featured on the blue (and as inspiration for another post).
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is it art to collect other people's art? An interesting question. At the same time, I envy his position... I've always wanted to describe my vocation as 'professional appreciator'.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:44 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


FatherDagon - from what I've read, the Fosters have a collection, and the shows of their photographs are "curated" by John or the couple, with some sort of indication that the photos are from anonymous (unintentional) artists.

Also, a belated credit for the post: thanks to Miko for her post on MetaChat.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm really appreciating those, thanks out to filthy light thief and Miko.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2010


Really love these, thanks for the link.
posted by jetsetsc at 2:19 PM on November 29, 2010


Sorry, I should have phrased my comment better - I didn't think they were actively claiming authorship of the works they curated. My thought was more about the seemingly recent rise of the 'found art' genre of collections - old photos, odd notes, bits and pieces of anonymously-created flotsam. They're removed from whatever their mysterious original context was, and given new framing based entirely on the commentary and collection they're presented in, at the selective whim of whomever is serving as 'curator'.

To some extent, these curators are posed as the artists, however, in that they are the avenues from which these works reach an audience, and it is through the facets these curators wish to reveal that the audience observes the works. It's an interesting scenario..
posted by FatherDagon at 2:27 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those are some fabulous photos. And a much more interesting hobby than just say, collecting commemorative spoons.
posted by Theta States at 2:30 PM on November 29, 2010


The idea of curator as artist is interesting, and reminded me of the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals, curated by a new artist each year. The curator sets the mood with work by third parties. ATP gains notoriety for the curators, but the selections themselves can stand alone.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on November 29, 2010


I don't quite understand the copyright notice. You buy a scrapbook at a yard sale, scan the photos and claim copyright? That's pretty hilarious. Because, heaven forbid someone should use these pictures without the permission of the creators. Oops.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:11 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the more nuanced explanation of your thoughts, FatherDagon. As an admirer of the Dadaists, and of Warhol's general attitudes towards art, I'd have to agree: presentation of art can be art, and can even exceed the original works in importance.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:32 PM on November 29, 2010


I just now realized that there are three interesting essays on the "vernacular photographs" site, Accidental Mysteries: "Accidental Mysteries", by John Foster; "Everybody’s Photography", by Edward M. Gomez; and "Curator’s Statement", by Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, Director of the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis, Missouri. More interesting insight into curating collections of found photos.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 PM on November 29, 2010


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