Beijung Silvermine – Thomas Sauvin

Beijing Silvermine

This link is to a Vimeo about the work of Thomas Sauvin in China.

Sauvin  rescues film negatives by the kilo at an illicit recycling dump in Beijing. He sorts and categorises them, sometime collaborating with others to make an animated film. He does not edit any of the images, preferring for them to tell their own story. Of his work, he says: ‘The story will have created itself on its own, at every new discovery.’

Sauvin finds fascination in the uniformity in all of the images.

’There is the feeling that they could have been shot by one person …there is a link between them all’.

By this he is eluding to the fact that the portrait shots are very often shot in the same position (middle  frame) with the same distance from the photographer.

The interest in this work for me lies with the use of appropriated images, and Sauvin’s analysis of the relationship between the photographer and their subject. This is something I have started to investigate in my work, especially when considering the use of text on the album page. Are they the words of the photographer, or the subject ? What is the relationship between the two? Does it change?

Unlike Sauvin, I use appropriated photographs to retell or remake a story, looking deep within the pictures and album to find clues; finding ways to thread them into a narrative which is a combination of fact and fiction.