Score one for the bloggers. I found this beautiful little packet of souvenir photographs at a small, otherwise uninteresting flea market a few weekends ago.
They’re tiny, just 2×2.5 inches, but they’re crisp and beautiful in a way that reminds me we’re losing something tangible in this wholesale shift to digital printing.
The photos reminded me a bit of a miniature photogrid from Olafur Eliasson–he’s done caves looking in and looking out, and some later pieces are documentations of his trip through a place, like the river rafting series.
But more than that, they reminded me of a tiny set of Robert Smithson mirror displacement photos I kind of wanted to buy. Smithson had used a Kodak Brownie to take tiny, square snapshots of mirrors stuck in the snow on his Greenwich Avenue roof. The Met had them on hold for a very long time, and ended up taking them in 2001. There are no images online, but they fall in an interesting place in Smithson’s work, between his contact sheets and his rarer, larger photos.
As for these photos, I have to thank Steve Roden, who helped me notice them at all. Roden had posted this summer about the Luray Caverns, specifically a recording of The Great Stalacpipe Organ, which was made of concert-tuned stalactites. Those Luray promoters didn’t miss a single angle.