"i found your photo" - A Benefit Exhibition of Donated Found Photographs
James W. Bailey
“i found your photo” - Curator
Force Majeure Studios
11196 Silentwood Lane
Reston, VA 20191
PROJECT WEB SITE: http://ifoundyourphoto.blogspot.com/
“i found your photo”
Exhibition Opens Monday, December 5, 2005.
Unique Art Exhibition of Found Photographs Will Raise Money to Fund a Photography Scholarship for an At-Risk High School Senior Aspiring Photographer From the Washington, D.C. Area to Attend Art School
(Reston, Va.) Have you ever walked through a flea-market and seen one of those beat-up, badly abused and long-neglected family photo albums with yellowed cellophane pages filled with old photographs spilling out of it and wondered about who that album originally belonged to and what the lives of all the people pictured inside it were about?
Experimental photographer, James W. Bailey, a native of Mississippi who currently resides in Reston, Virginia, has long been fascinated with found photographs and believes that these missing photographic objects rise to the level of fine art. In December of 2005 and January of 2006, Bailey will present a unique curated art exhibition in Reston featuring a donated collection of these lost photographic treasures titled, “i found your photo”.
According to Bailey, this exhibition will feature donated found photographs submitted from across the country by both artists and non artists who have discovered or found a photograph somewhere that interests them: “Earlier this year a national call for submission was issued asking people to donate one found photograph to the exhibition. Donors of the found photographs were also asked to include an index card with their submission that offers a personal statement about where the photograph they submitted was found and what meaning it holds for them.”
According to Bailey, after the exhibition closes at the end of January 2006, the original found photographs, index cards and other curatorial items from the exhibition will be collected and placed into a one-of-a-kind handmade photography book. This book will be designed by the photographer and handmade photography book artist, Melanie De Cola, of Reston, Virginia.
To complete the project, the book will be auctioned on Ebay in early 2006. The proceeds of the auction will be used to fund a photography scholarship through the League of Reston Artists, a not for profit 501(c) 3 artist collective based in Reston, for an at-risk high school senior aspiring photographer from the Washington, D.C. area to attend an accredited fine arts college of art school.
Bailey explains his source of inspiration for this exhibition: “My philosophy for this project is motivated by my deep belief in the concept and practices of Littoral Art. Littoral Art is concerned with using art in creative approaches and projects to address critical social problems.
Basically, Littoral Artists believe that art can and should move out of the traditional institutional structure of contemporary art museums and galleries and into the real world of real concerns by real people for the purpose of positively addressing the serious issues that confront us as a society.
I want to demonstrate through this project that it is possible to involve a wide audience of people who might normally never be interested in attending or participating in an art exhibition and to engage them in a creative way to help raise money for an issue of importance: the issue of creative at-risk youth who have limited opportunities to pursue their creative dreams.”
Bailey says that found photographs are compelling to both the finder and the viewer because they beg questions of deep personal interest in unmasking the identity and meaning of the photograph and how that identity and meaning relates to the identity and understanding of the finder of the photograph, as well as that of the viewer.
“Found photographs generate an endless loop of probing questions that all come back to the missing identity and mystery of the photograph in question: Who took the photograph? Where was it taken? Who is in the photograph? Who did the photograph belong to? When was it lost? Where was it lost? Why was it lost? Who found it? Where was it found? Why did the finder keep it after they found it? What does the photograph mean to the finder? What does it mean to the viewer? What does the viewer think about the finder of the photograph? What does the viewer think about himself or herself when looking at the photograph? Is somebody out there still looking for their photo?”
Bailey also believes that found photographs challenge the viewer to confront fundamental concepts of fine art photography because these photographs were never intended to be the product of a specific art process; nor were they intended to be placed into the public arena of an art gallery.
“Because we don’t know who is pictured in a found photograph, or who took the photograph, we are forced to confront our biases and prejudices about the imagery of other people.
Since we don’t have the comfortably reassuring cultural compass of a known and recognized photographer to rely upon to help direct us toward a meaning or interpretation, as with a traditional photograph, we must reach outside the familiarity of the defined fine art experience and tap the uncomfortable boundaries of our prejudices, stereotypes and misconceptions about other people in order to orient ourselves to the culturally and artistically disconnected imagery we see in a found photograph.”
WHO: The League of Reston Artists and James W. Bailey.
WHAT: The League of Reston Artists presents, "i found your photo", a benefit art exhibition of found photographs curated by experimental photographer, James W. Bailey.
WHEN: The “i found your photo” exhibition will run from December 5, 2005, to January 27, 2006, at the University of Phoenix Northern Virginia Campus in Reston, Virginia. An opening reception will take place on Friday, December 9, from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. For more information about “i found your photo”, see the project web site.
WHERE: The exhibition "i found your photo" is located on the 2nd floor of the University of Phoenix Northern Virginia Campus at 11710 Plaza America Drive, Reston, Virginia 20190. For directions, please see the League of Reston Artists web site.