Almost all of us take photographs every day using our smartphone. The vast majority of them are never printed, but are shared online or stored in digital form. As a result, we generally do not experience these photographs as physical objects, but as intangible images. Photos that are printed are, however, not necessarily regarded as objects either. One of the reasons for this is that the visual idiom of photography is largely realistic: a photograph of a person is an exact likeness of that person. Photography is a ‘transparent’ medium – when we look at a photograph it is as if we are looking directly at what is portrayed in the photograph. The material of the photograph itself becomes invisible, as it were. The properties of the material of which a photograph is made are however vital to the story told by the photograph.
La Soupe de Daguerre
The title of this exhibition refers to a work by artist Marcel Broodthaers, La Soupe de Daguerre (1975), an ode to Louis Daguerre, one of the inventors of photography. Since he invented his daguerrotype in the nineteenth century, a host of new ways of producing photographs have been devised. This exhibition presents a sample of this vast ‘soup’ of photographic materials and production techniques from Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’s collection. The selection of works invites you in all kinds of ways to approach photographs not as intangible images, but as physical objects.