The 24 HRS in Photos gallery features over a million photos in piles meant for rummaging through. “We’re really excessively photographing ourselves now,” says Kessels. “I wanted to make them all public and see how people reacted.”
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This gallery Album Beauty is wallpapered with images from 20,000 discarded family photo albums. “You can follow the course of people’s lives: vacations, weddings, first children."
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“Sometimes you’ll find where they cut people they don’t like anymore out of the picture.”
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In the third gallery, In Almost Every Picture, Kessels uncovers a retired Dutch woman’s lifelong dedication to a carnival game.
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When a player shoots a bull’s-eye, the booth snaps his or her photo.
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“She started playing in 1936, when she was 16,” he says. “She’s 94 now.”
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Kessels stumbled upon these pictures of hapless deer taken by an automated camera set up in the Texas wilds on a hunting website. “I don’t think the hunters thought much about them. They’re not the photographers: The deer is. They’re self-portraits, in a way.”
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“This family spent years struggling with one of the great mysteries of photography: How to shoot a black dog? It’s very difficult. It just looks like a big black phantom every single time.”
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Dutch publisher Erik Kessels has become one of the most provocative figures in modern photography without taking a single shot. “So many images are created but never displayed,” Kessels says. “It seems like we should make use of those before creating new images.”
His 24 HRS in Photos, a collection of every photo uploaded to Flickr in a single day piled into one room, has been on display at Pier 24 Photography for a year now, but starting this month, the gallery is expanding the exhibit to include two more rooms full of archival images. In the slideshow above, we navigate the maze of other people’s memories.
Opens August 4th; pier24.org
Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco