Bilder von der Straße (Pictures from the Street) is a thirty-year project which began in 1982 and ended in 2012. During this time I picked up one thousand lost or abandoned photographs from the world’s pavements. Although the collection has been exhibited widely, this is the first time it is printed as a complete set. Published in four volumes, the books present every found photograph or its fragments in their original size and in the chronological order they were discovered. No artistic intervention has taken place except for the inclusion of the date and location where each picture was found. As well as providing a record of my travels, the books document people’s use and abuse of photographs, with almost all the photographs in the collection depicting people and more than half of these being ripped or defaced in some way.
This act of discarding or destroying individual photographs seems to point to a desire to eliminate memories of specific moments in people’s lives. By encouraging viewers to imagine the stories of the people depicted, the project raises questions about the emotionally-charged events that could warrant such destruction. I consider this collection to be a social documentary consisting of both visual artefacts and human documents. Produced in a systematic manner, it is an inventory of lost photographs and memories that hint at the mysteries of people’s private lives and at their attempts to document and destroy them.
2012 (the 2009 Blurb edition is discontinued)
print on demand, colour
29.7 x 21 cm, 4 volumes in a box, 256 pages each
softcover, perfect bound