In those heroic days of photography – we might have to find another name for what we have today- the family archive had immense benevolence for the mistake, and while the failed photographs could not attain the privilege of being displayed in the family album, the immense mercy of some photographers – and the lack of a convenient delete button on the old cameras – granted indulgence to some of these abominations, which might well go through advanced experiments of post-modernity today. Relegated, then, to the bottom of the archive we find photos of landscapes with (tiny) figures, grotesque decapitations, inexplicably moved scenes, strange and absurd compositions, risky backlights, flashbacks and an endless number of very varied luminous aberrations…. This was the greatness and generosity of photography, which today we clumsily try to imitate…
For this exercise I have searched the old family album for those photographs that can be considered failed and which, despite their obvious flaws, are preserved and have a place in the archive – although not necessarily in the album. The problems detected are very common in vernacular photography and perhaps today, in the world of digital immediacy, these images would have been erased without contemplation. Paradoxically, despite the fact that in times of analogue photography these copies had a cost – both on film and in developing and copying paper – families used to keep them and were not very scrupulous in technical matters, giving more value to the testimonial value that the image itself had.
Between the 1970s and 1980s, the largest number of these failed photographs were found, coinciding with the rise of vernacular photography and the access of middle-class families to affordable cameras, along with an extensive network of developing establishments or pick-up points for films in almost every city and town in Spain. There were also laboratories offering a mail-based pickup and delivery system.
This defective material has an interesting creative potential, and through digital manipulation I have used its own defects to create a new and different proposal, which despite still preserving the flavor of vernacular photography, allows reusing these images beyond the intention with which they were created.