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Marcel Duchamp is said to have perfected the concept of l’objet trouvé with what he termed readymades at the beginning of the 20th century, declaring that the genre belonged to Dadaism. L’objet trouvé refers to nothing less than any item of everyday life, with its own, unique peculiarities, which is raised to the level of a work of art thanks to the way it is presented. Transferred to photography, this concept becomes a foto trouvé. This does not refer to the 1986 Photo trouvé article by the German analogue photographer Andreas Müller-Pohle. Müller-Pohle used the term ‘Photo trouvé’ to refer to the one, valid picture found among a vast selection of negatives. It referred to his approach to preparing his artwork, and to the fact that, after taking a picture, he never really knew how the photo came about. In the case of the foto trouvé, it is more a question of the content.

The photograph can be limited to showing just one found object. This is the case where it comes closest to the Dadaists concept of l’objet trouvé. Chun Ming Chan in Taiwan appears to be showing us the consequences of a sneaky attack on a trematode, brutally injured on its ear while drinking. In an attempt to cover up the crime, its head is taped and fixed to the ground.
When the camera draws so close to an object that its entirety is no longer visible, its form and colours disperse. In this manner, Ikuo Inoue in Japan transformed a stack of chairs into a breathtaking, rhythmic display in front of a brightly colourful cocktail. If the camera takes a step back and introduces other elements in relationship to the object, we are presented with a still life. Elizabeth Cowle shows us the ghostly, magical beauty of a broken chair in an abandoned alleyway in Singapore. Jean-François Muguet, searching for the unusual in rural France, places a small forest, a post and electricity lines within the frame of a football goal post, turning them into a foto trouvé , – in this case a picture within a picture. Will Yang preserves the memory of a red wall in Hong Kong, which becomes a foto trouvé thanks to cleaning equipment left behind on the ground; and Michael Erimo in Paris found a suitcase that tells a story about the past, the present and the future. Finally, also in Paris, Gaetano Iacolino shows that a foto trouvé can also represent an intellectual game. The sign reads “Ne pas déranger”, which means “Do not disturb”.  “Déranger”, however, also means “to muddle up” and even “to disrupt”. The installation in the window plays with these meanings and, as a result, is making a subtle demand for civil obedience.
(Olaf Staaben)
Gaetano Iacolino
Ne Pas Déranger
“For my photography, I'm always searching for 'anonymous installations in public places'. I look in the streets and find stage sets and art, but also theatre and ballet. In the non-staged pictures, I always try to use my eyes to enhance the profane and the meaningless. While searching for motifs dealing with a specific subject, I remain alert for the surprising, or for the special moment. In my work, I always try to show the oppositional, so as to create a counterpoint.”

Gaetano Iacolino, an Italian European who grew up in Germany, has been an enthusiastic photographer since 1975, and is happily looking forward to his Q2.

Paris, France
X Vario with Vario-Elmar 18-46 f/3.5-6.4 Asph

Elizabeth Cowle
“Around the neighbourhoods of Singapore, rows of quintessential residential and commercial shophouses display colourful historical architecture. Clustered together, they are a brilliant mix of styles that depict an eclectic mix of Chinese, Malay and European elements of a bygone era. These shophouses display vibrant facades with fancy tiles and motives and beautifully crafted rear spiral staircases that connect their two or three stories. The back lanes of these shophouses took on a life of their own, being the centre of life off the streets. They provided access to essential services such as fire-fighting and basic sanitation and served as back yards for washing and playgrounds for children.
The effervescence of the shophouses continues but the lanes now have almost become silent, ghost-like and devoid of life. As colourful as the shophouses are, it is the back lanes that spark my interest and fascination. They are full of textures that tell their own secrets, stories and mysteries - old night soil ports, discarded possessions that were once treasures, rusted pipes, obsolete equipment, ornamental gardens now weeds and many things ‘broken’.”

Elizabeth Cowle was born in Melbourne, Australia, and has been living in Singapore for over twelve years. She has been a member of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) since 2017. Her pictures have already been exhibited and published in books.

M6 with Summilux 35 f/1.4

Ikuo Inoue
Stacked Chairs
“I immediately noticed some pipe chairs that hadn't been used for an event, and that were stacked on top of each other in the corner. The resulting super structure struck me as a precarious balancing act. I was fascinated by the rhythm of the lines and the threatening instability of the stacked tower.”

Ikuo Inoue is a gynaecologist and obstetrician in Oita, Japan, and only discovered photography for himself when he was 55 years old. At the moment, his main interest is in bokeh around the subject of flowers.

Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, Japan
Q with Summilux 28 f/1.7 Asph

Jean-François Muguet
“This picture is a part of a personal long term project titled Non important little things, dedicated to rural France in modern times. Quite documentary. No people, mostly frontal, no effects. I was travelling through Beauce, a very flat area in the northwest of France with lots of fields and not so many people. I kind of like these areas, where I can find many traces. This football goal was in the middle of nothing, old and rusty but still in use. The grass was cleared and flat enough for playing. You could imagine it busy on Sundays with kids and parents; just not that day. Luckily, all the closest objects – the electricity poles and the wood – fitted in the frontal frame of the goal post.”

Jean-François Muguet lives near Paris and works as a press and a commercial photographer. Non important little things is his first, personal long-term project, and is running on Instagram.  

Membrolles, Beauce, France
Q with Summilux 28 f/1.7 Asph

Chun Ming Chan
“This picture was taken in Taipei City after visiting Steve McCurry's solo exhibition. I was fascinated by the shape of the plumbing hardware, which had been bandaged with tape pending repair. When I got closer I noted some ketchup stains on the ground, making me think immediately about wounded limbs: a lonely, wounded creature waiting for someone to rescue it.”

Born in Hong Kong, Chun Ming Chan has dedicated himself to his life-long passion for street photography, since retiring from banking in 2014.

Taipei, Taiwan
X Vario with Vario-Elmar 18-46 f/3.5-6.4 Asph

Dr. Will Yang
Red in the Memory
“Although I had passed by this wall several times, this was the first time I photographed it. Cleaning work may have just been completed as the ladders were placed on the ground. The colour seemed much more vivid than before. This red wall was a part of Pak Shing Temple on Hong Kong Island. In Chinese culture, the colour red is capable of exorcising evil spirits. The Chinese words 勝地 mean the place where many people come to burn incense and worship the Buddha. Since the latest refurbishment, the red colour and Chinese words are no longer there. They have been replaced by graffiti produced by a modern artist. I think the greatest power of photography is to record history and beautiful things.”

Dr. Will Yang, who works in the field of biomedical engineering, purchased his first Leica in 2013. Since then he spends most week-ends wandering through the streets of Hong Kong to document daily life there.

Hong Kong, China
M (Typ 240) with Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 Asph

Michael Erimo
Story of a Suitcase
“I was walking in the area called ‘Puces de Vanves’ at the end of the flea market. All the bric-a-brac traders had already left, but some traces of their presence still remained. I came across this old suitcase from another era: chequered interior, old and destroyed handle, no wheels. The scene was set for this suitcase finally ending its life here, surrounded by left-over cardboard boxes, papers, and an old painting. Then, while I was trying to decide the best way to photograph it, I saw some travellers walking by. I decided to include them in the frame with their newer, ‘living’ suitcases, active and contemporary, echoes of the main subject. The old, abandoned suitcase evokes an old story that is ending here, but that stands as a testimony to some very happy travel moments in the past. For me these suitcases are time travellers in a story about the past, present, and future, inherent to photography.”

Michael Erimo lives in Paris and is a passionate amateur photographer, particularly interested in street photography and portraits of people on-the-fly, trying to emphasize expressions, looks or situations in their day-to-day lives.

Paris, XIV Arrondissement, France
M Monochrom with Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 Asph

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