Exercise 2.1: The artist as curator

Mug shots

For this exercise I needed to create a typology of found images, in which a particular motif appears again and again. At first, I had thought about something link red telephone boxes or black cabs. However, the photographs often contained a lot of irrelevant visual information, which might detract from the main subject. Having found out about Joachim Schmid's method of collecting  and categorising photographs, I tried to think of the modern day equivalent. I found my answer on the Internet. Pinterest enables its users to gather images that have been left on the web and 'pin' them on to 'boards'. Another similar photo curation app is Instagram, which enables the user to tag their images. However this time the photographs usually belong to the user. Instagram consists of almost every aspect of daily life, including the mundane. It was the thought of photographing their every meal, that led me to my choice of motif. For example, over 42,500 members of the Flickr group, 'I ate this', have posted over 690,500 photographs of their meals!

When viewed from above, the coffee mug is a very common motif, with its round rim and handle sticking out the side. I was fascinated by the number of mugs of coffee there are on the Internet. On Instagram alone, #coffeemug has over 1,225,000 images! 

I decided to search for coffee mugs, which had been photographed from above. I chose images that were large enough to fill most of a square crop. To add interest to the typology, I arranged them in alternating rows, with the handle pointing in the same direction (below). I rarely use Instagram, but this exercise has made me think that I could use it more to 'collect' and curate images.