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B u l l s e y e = r e c o r d

Umělec 2010/1

01.01.2010

Palo Fabuš | en cs de

Is life a story with a climax in the form of retrospective and reconciliation, or can it be limited to a series of successes without a clear goal? Today, we approach our own biographies in the same way as we do literary stories; life becomes a record of life. 

Since 2002, Amsterdam’s KesselsKramer publishing house has published a series of books entitled In Almost Every Picture, featuring collections of vernacular photography. The most recent book in the series, Shooting Gallery, was published in 2008 and presents photographs from the collection of Ria van Dijk, who, between 1936 and 2008, photographed herself aiming a rifle at her camera’s shutter release. The chronologically ordered photographs show not only van Dijk aiming her air rifle, but also the random (?) spectators standing around her in anticipation of her hitting the bullseye, which she always managed to do at first attempt, even approaching old age. During her life, photographing became an everyday activity for van Dijk, interrupted only by the war and a stay in the hospital. 
Shooting Gallery offers a refreshing contribution to the undoubtedly popular genre of multi-year photographic series, a contribution that goes beyond the usual act of recording the aging self-portraitist. Although Ria van Dijk does not consider herself an artist, her photographs offer a simple – though for interpretation highly playful – approach that, without exaggeration, touches upon existential issues. What is more, it does so all the more urgently the more we escape from these issues into the whirlpool of funfair images and escapades. This series of photographs of an aging funfair shooter excels without any unnecessary emphasis on inspirational energy, the personal search for meaning, being until death, the random and significant, loneliness and society. Last but not least, worth noting from this amateur collection is its structured self-censorship at a time of hedonistic self-depiction, and the fact that the gaze of the bystanders is almost always on the target, not the person shooting.


In Almost Every Picture 7: Shooting Gallery. Collected and edited by Erik Kessels and Joep Eijkens. KesselsKramer 2008.





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