Analog photographs become fugitives: degrading over time, identity and sentimental attachment lost. In this exhibition they are rediscovered and put into new context. Gary Piattoni and Aron Packer assume the role of curators of lost images. Their combined fascinations with treasure hunting and connoisseurship of fine art have lead to these collections of vernacular photography. They elevate these images to a place where they can be seen as great compositions, even if many were just incidental or accidental.
Join us for receptions Saturday, April 22, 5-8pm, and May 6, 5-8pm. Exhibition runs April 22-May 28.
Gary Piattoni runs his own art and antique appraisal service and has been a regular face on the PBS phenomenon Antiques Roadshow. He has been collecting found photography for years. Gary’s thoughts in his passion:
“I see these photos as a parallel to the current world of smart phones and social media. At one point almost everyone had a film camera. Now with film all but extinct all we have are these snapshots. Like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. there is a lot to sift through. Amongst all the crap, scary stuff, boring stuff and sad food pics are some really great images. Some powerful images, funny, beautiful and just odd. We endow certain photographers with prestige and fame because of the images they capture. It is because of the great photographers that we can have an understanding of connoisseurship. Sometimes an amateur eye can provoke similar feelings whether intentioned or not.”
Aron Packer has been a successful Chicago gallerist for many years and continues to curate exhibitions. He has curated two separate bodies of work: Perp-Walk photos from the ’40s and theatrical promotion shots from the early 1900s.
“I searched flea markets and antique shops for years and years, and one of my favorite things to buy was boxes of photos and photo scrapbooks. I think these water damaged photos were just some kind of bedroom shrine to some long forgotten actors and actresses, maybe local to the town in Michigan from where they came. We all know the look. Slowly growing organically over a period of time… or covering spots on the wall more than others. If you squint… you can picture these actors and actresses getting ready for the limelight….and you can also picture the fan pinning yet another photo on the scrapbook wall.”
“These are crime-related photos from the 1940’s. In general they are photo documentary shots from Chicago Newspapers, primarily the Chicago American. The photos have all the markings of keyline and paste up, typical from newspaper reproductions of the time. These are done to separate and enhance various features from each photo. On the flip side of many of them is the newspaper clipping of the photo glued to the back of each respective photo. This is a great feature that truly enhances their interest.”