Phofography - Photographically challenged
Crowdsourcing a collection of ‘flawed photography’ as part of a collaborative project for an edition of University College Utrecht’s Post magazine.
With Thijs van Himbergen
There are countless photos being taken throughout the world today. Some of them are truly amazing. Many of them are pretty good. Most photos are just mediocre. But what about bad photos, what happens to them? Probably a lot of them are deleted instantly, only seeing the light of day for a split second or so. Or they are lost in the abyss of your digital photo collection.These hidden gems are shrouded in mystery and actually deserve a closer look.
Did I make that?
When selecting photos that are somehow flawed, foggy, or just a little frumpy an interesting thing happens: you start judging photos from a different point of view and with a new set of criteria. “Is this one blurry enough?”, “Can you see if its a turtle or a banana?”, “Is that someone’s face covering the lens?”. You may even start liking these spontaneous and sometimes abstract pictures, maybe even wondering how you were able to make them.
Phofography is an experimental collaborative photography project that aims to explore the uncharted territory of flawed photography. It is different to other forms of photography in a number of ways. First of all it is very inclusive; everyone can do it and you don’t need fancy equipment, it’s possible with every type of camera. Secondly, in phofography there is no real technique and hardly any intention; the pictures are made purely accidentally. Phofographs can be blurry, underexposed, poorly positioned, low resolution, there are infinite ways to mess up a picture and this is what makes for such a wide variety.
A phofo, as we also like to refer to them, can tell us something about the phofographer. Sometimes it gives a fleeting glimpse into the phofographer’s life and the situation they were in while taking the phofo. Phofos create more questions than answers and they triggers our imagination to figure out what we are looking at.
Perhaps failed photos may one day be more appreciated, possibly even inspirational. We believe that anyone can be a phofographer. It is about recognizing phofos, and admitting to ourselves that ‘bad’ can also be ‘good’, it just depends how you look at it. It’s time we give less fortunate photos a chance to see another light of day.