REVIEW: Image Tsunami by Erik Kessels
By Elana Kates
“We are living in the midst of a photographic renaissance.” So Erik Kessels claims with this universal declaration in his new book, Image Tsunami. He’s referring to that ever-expanding cache of images on the Internet—one that’s already become unfathomably large (despite its relatively brief existence). Image Tsunami is an immense compilation of these photos, published en masse on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram. Kessels mines these repositories of photographic material, collecting and curating. And the resulting book is an expression of the seemingly arbitrary, random nature of Internet culture. In Image Tsunami, you will find: Women posing with lawnmowers, women posing (more provocatively) with coffins, polaroids of Christmas trees, digitally rendered car tires, children with nosebleeds, men displaying hunting trophies (this list barely scratches the surface of the diverse compilation displayed in Image Tsunami). These photos are optically or intuitively arranged—and sometimes they are completely random. The development is often humorous, sometimes absurd, but certainly overwhelming.
In this book, Kessels curates his own “image tsunami” of vernacular photography, but one that amounts to, “nothing more than a drop in the ocean.” And this act of curating—it isn’t exclusive to artists but rather so ubiquitous we barely notice when we do it. Digital culture ensures that we are constantly flooded with imagery. We ignore most of it, acknowledging only those images which pique our interest. But, as Kessels states, this, “ocean of images is teeming with life, from beautiful to random, weird, scary, odd, funny, or mind-bogglingly bizarre. It’s all in there, if you know where to look.” Image Tsunami articulates this so energetically, stirring viewers to consider the photos they encounter everyday with a little bit more intention.
You can purchase the title through the link below:
Book courtesy D.A.P., Inc.
Article © Elana Kates