It’s a Snap! Exhibit in Easthampton Captures Time
Anonymous Snapshots Found by Collectors Encourage Cultural Voyeurism
Sunday, Feb 1 – Saturday, Feb 28, 2015
In today’s tech-saturated world, it’s safe to assume that virtually every single photograph we see was likely taken (and uploaded to the web) only moments prior. We are accustomed to receiving instant updates, we expect constant contact, and we require visual documentation of unlikely experiences. With all this focus on the present, how often do we take time to think about, or look at, the past? Both jaw-droppingly unlikely and seemingly mundane moments throughout American culture have been documented by amateur and professional photographers over time. But what makes a photo valuable as a cultural or historical document? How does one draw the line between “just another family photo” and a particularly special shot? (And why is it necessary to create a hierarchy of photographs?)
“It’s a Snap!”, on view through February at the Mill Arts Project in Easthampton, MA, seeks to answer these questions — and to ask many more. Made up of found anonymous snapshots gathered by top collectors all over the U.S., the exhibition is both timeless and extremely current. Curator Stacy Waldman, who has been collecting and dealing photographs since 1999, is excited about the transgressive nature of the exhibition: displaying these anonymous (and presumably amateur) photographs in a space traditionally reserved for experienced artists assigns value and projects intention onto images whose creators simply wished to record their own lives. There is a voyeuristic element to this exhibition, which both adds to the transgressive undertone and increases the relatability of the audience. The anonymous nature of the photographs allows the audience to focus on the contents of each image for its own sake. Each collector’s interests and creative voice also shines through in the images they have selected for display. How might a collector’s eye shape (or create) a narrative amongst potentially unrelated images? How might this affect the audience’s interpretation of the images?
Each photograph captures a unique moment in time. This exhibition invites audiences to consider the elements of the many anonymous photographers whose work has been collected and displayed together–clothing and home decor in particular serve as great points of interest and comparison–and to reflect on the similarities and differences between “us” and “them,” “now” and “then.” Waldman says, “I want to show people how an anonymous snapshot, sometimes with quirks and mistakes, can be magical.”
The collectors whose photos will appear in the show include: Steve Bannos, Peter Cohen, Maria DiElsi, John Foster, Mark Glovsky, Clare Goldsmith, Richard Hart, WM Hunt, Robert E. Jackson, Nigel Maister, Sabine Ocker, Nicholas Osborn, Billy Parrott, Ransom Riggs, Randall De Rijk, Ron Slattery, Albert Tanquero, Erin Waters, and John Van Noate.
This exhibition is free and will be open to the public Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from noon-5pm.
MAP (Mill Arts Project). Eastworks. 116 Pleasant Street, Room 137. Easthampton.
- Thursday, February 5, 6-9pm and Friday, February 6, 6-9pm: Make your own collage with vintage photos (provided) on either Thursday, February 5 or Friday, February 6. Finished collages will be displayed in the back exhibition space as part of “It’s a Snap.” The workshop costs $25 per person; space is limited.
- Saturday, February 14, 5-8pm: Stop by the opening reception for “It’s a Snap!” during Art Walk Easthampton, with entertainment by Zack Danziger. The exhibition is free and open to the public, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 12-5 PM.
- Wednesday, February 25, 7-9pm: Perform or listen at Instant Poetry night in collaboration with ECA+’s Unbuttoned. Write poems about photographs on display in “It’s a Snap!”, or choose a photo from the interactive pile provided to write about!
Email Stacy Waldman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about “It’s a Snap!” and related events.