#snapshot at the Triennial of Photography Hamburg 19.6.-28.6.2015, Oberhafen - hall 3, Stockmeyerstr. 41, 20457 Hamburg

The internet has revolutionized photography. Never before have we produced such a volume of photographs. And never before have our photographs had such a potentially vast audience. Immediately. Social media is filled with selfies and pictures of food, but a single snapshot can also have a bigger impact on world politics than ever before. In this day and age, sharing photographs is as important as taking them.

At the Triennial of Photography, #snapshot presents Homo Photographicus and updates the concept of the snapshot. It takes a look at the various facets of today’s culture of photography - including the not-so-pleasant ones. In addition to photographs taken by ordinary people and image feeds from social media, the exhibition presents works that comment on the theme from contemporary artists Erik Kessels (Holland), Niklas Kullström (Finland), Sisse Stroyer (Denmark) and Catherine Ballet (France).

The exhibition is produced by The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki and curated by its chief curator Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger in collaboration with Risto Sarvas (Futurice) and Asko Lehmuskallio (University of Tampere, The School of Communication, Media and Theatre).


Image from Catherine Balet's Strangers in the Light series

Catherine Balet

Are we more connected or more alone than ever?

Catherine Balet (b. 1959) is a French photographic artist with a background in the fine arts. For the past ten years, she has been a regular contributor to various French and international magazines, while also creating images for the world of fashion. She specializes in portraiture with an artistico-sociological approach to her subjects. She lives and works between Paris and Brighton.

Balet is interested in how technology affects people’s presence. The continually updated profiles in the online communities comment on, and in a sense compete with people’s physical presence. Novel photographic technologies that emphasize sharing are feeding a desire to be always present online, even at the expense of the transient moment of the here and now. The absent looks of the people photographed by Balet speak of being together and alone simultaneously. Yet, Balet’s photographs speak of how novel technologies enable people to share and connect with others in a new way.

For #snapshot, Balet presents images from her series Strangers in the Light in which “digital light” makes people’s faces glow like in the paintings of the old masters. The tension between the often romantic compositions to cold, bluish light produced by digital devices is breathtaking.


Erik Kessel's installation 24H in Photos

Erik Kessels

Have you counted how many images you see every day?

Erik Kessels (b. 1966) is a Dutch designer, artist and curator. In 1995, he founded the legendary and unorthodox KesselsKramer advertising agency together with Johan Kramer. Since then, KesselsKramer has grown into a publishing house, specializing in art, photography and fiction.

In the digital age when photography has become largely immaterial, there exists a need to not only conceptualize, but to materialize the flood of images. For his work, 24H in Photos, Kessels printed out each image uploaded to the Flickr image-sharing service during one day – 350 000 images in total. As an installation, the huge number of individual images circulating online become tangible. 

The overwhelming quantity of photographs online often blurs the boundaries between the private and the public, as personal content is made openly available. By converting the electronic images into concrete visual material, Kessels’ 24H in Photos lets its viewers have physical contact with the overflowing and ever-accelerating stream of images being circulated online. The experience provides a fertile ground to contemplate on the feelings caused by the abundance of images in contemporary culture.


Detail from Niklas Kullström's Flexing I

Niklas Kullström

What makes our images meaningful?

Niklas Kullström (b. 1981) is a Finnish photographer who has worked as a cinematographer, editor, producer and director in various film productions. Kullström is also a teacher, teaching script writing, graphic design, IT and media analysis in addition to photography and cinematography.

The aesthetics of the digital age are a source of inspiration for Kullström. Particularly the rapid transformation photography has gone through in the past two decades has been at the heart of many of his projects. In addition to creating the interactive HamburgNow and #Selfie feeds for #snapshot, Kullström presents two artworks that deal with photography's transition from analog to digital, from private to social.

Commenting on the pace in which digital technology both expires and molds our experience, INDEX consists of 7200 images that Kullström took during one year. Taken with a 15-year-old Bandai C@Mail-F38 with a modest resolution of 0.38mp and a memory card of 16mb, INDEX lays out the visual overflow we both encounter and create on a daily basis. In the #hashtag series, Kullström follows the trails of this overflow to its most social manifestation: Instagram. Using a computer script to harvest a mass of 400.000 images based on different #hashtags, Kullström comments on the tradition of found objects and image appropriation. The vast quantity of images that are digitally merged thus form a new totality where the individuality of the original images is lost for the benefit of digital anthropology.

Image from Sisse Stroyer's Sexting Project

Sisse Stroyer 

Don't we all have taken naked pictures of ourselves?

Sisse Stroyer (b. 1975) is working as a photojournalist covering news, sports, gossip, reportage and royals in Denmark and abroad.

For the past five years, Stroyer has focused on a particularly juicy part of contemporary photographic culture – sexting. The word is a combination of the words sex and texting, and refers to the sending of erotic cell-phone images or text messages. As a part of #snapshot, Stroyer presents her Sexting Project, an ongoing personal project that started in February 2010. The project consists of a series of cell-phone pictures exclusively donated by Danish people of all ages. The pictures have not been taken for the project itself, but instead have been recorded in a sincere moment of lust or love, intended to be shared with only one other person.

The Sexting Project documents contemporary visual love letters that are distributed effortlessly and always carried with us. Even though the images are highly sexual, the project should not be seen as pornography but rather as a celebration of human sexuality, body, and love. The images are not perfect nor are the bodies depicted in them - yet, they are real with real people showing real feelings in a cell-phone snapshot.