The Photograph as a Found Object: A Roundtable Discussion

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Saturday, 28 November 2015 • 10AM-1PM
Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia


Joachim Schmid • Artist, Germany

Merja Salo • Professor of Photography, Aalto University, Finland

Clare Grafik • Head of Exhibitions, Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK


In an interview the British based German writer W.G.Sebald referred to the photograph as a “nomadic thing” as something that is “intended to get lost” only to be rediscovered and rescued from that “stream of history that keeps rushing past.”

With this statement Sebald draws attention to the spectral continuity of the photograph – its uncanny persistence in coming and going as object, as well as its haunting habitation of the present, but also its fresh potentiality as image independent of its original meaning.

Artists, photographers, writers or curators using photography in this way can be seen to intervene spatially and temporarily within that flow of movement between the photograph’s past and its potentially projected future. This way of using photographs is very different to the idea of the photograph as preserved document for reconstructing history or as a poignant personal memento. The vitality of the photograph is in this instance situated as Brian Massumi would have it in the “object’s relation to the flow” of its own dynamic unfolding.

This roundtable discussion places emphasis on the found photograph and its potential nature as an aesthetic object that continues to make connections.