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Installation View.
SCAR symposium. 2023

In Very Good Condition (VG++)


Project Description

“Wi-Fi and smart phones afford the image spatial mobility, creating interactions between bodies and subjects, and give the image a dynamic, affective, performative and transactional character.” (Dewdney, 2021)

Popular online, second-hand goods shop eBay is used by millions who form the role of buyer and seller interchangeably, exchanging money for (primarily) goods, leaving ratings and competing on price. A never-ending car-boot sale that happens from within the home. Driven by imagery of the artefacts for sale, the platform gives a sense of infinite and abundant, sumptuous choice. Within this capitalist paradigm we can explore a great deal of our contemporary nature to share, perform and enact this “transactional” nature of photography.

Defined by awkward angles, poor white-balancing and blur or grain from low-light, these photographs taken from recent eBay listings of mirrors show a disinterest in the conventions of photography as a reflection of the lack of interest in the once coveted item now offered for sale. These photographs form a strata within our photographic history that will help to document the transformation which the contemporary photograph is going through. The quantity, conventions and proliferation qualify this work – by 20th Century standards – as a photographic genre.

Gaze into these accidental portraits and look at the hard black rectangles which have facilitated them and now take centre stage – over and above the face. Consider in these master portraits the anonymised presence of your children, siblings and parents, their lineages and legacies, backstories, futures. Think about the servers upon which these images will reside for 90 days after the end of the auction. Take in the sellers’ body language and choose a new mirror above your fireplace. And finally, try to think of the last photograph you took by accident- not a misfire, but a photograph that – like these - isn’t actually a photograph.

Dewdney, A. (2021) Forget Photography. MIT Press.

Exhibitions of this project.

Artworks from this project have been exhibited in the following exhibitions.

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