When I started the website “film is not dead it just smells funny” in 2004, only because I really thought non-digital photography could not die out, I couldn’t have imagined to be upgraded to ‘guru’ willy-nilly by the virtual community, I didn’t have that ambition, it just happened. Over the years I have seen many photos, which were send to me appropriately and inappropriately. Photos that often did not exceed the level of ‘a snapshot’. The ‘photographer’ -who was able to get his girlfriend to pose naked- sends his pictures to me and thinks I will be able to elevate it to fine art. Or give it at least a label ‘good!’. I’ve seen styles come and go; ‘wooly wooly pictures’ and ‘sloppy hip-shooters’ as my good friend Urs Bernard calls them . No, film is not dead it will only get more expensive in the future.

A few photographers lingered in my memory. Within the digital turbulence, the photoshop’d crap, failed experiments with some sort of new Polaroid, some photographers stood out. The ever so elite photography world became democratized but much stayed unchanged. Quality is not the camera, but the person behind it. Besides that, an apposing movement rose. Photographers who’d never seen a darkroom started creating one and those who at one time went to pixels returned to grains. The revival exploded on all fronts. Plastic cameras became a niche and wetplate became a cult. One starts all over again; separate the wheat from the chaff.

As a curator I started to dislike the computer screen. “What am I looking at”. The same picture on a different screen didn’t look the same. Let’s go and have them printed, ordinary on paper, a little old fashioned but still it’s away from the computer screen. The successful publications of books were the beginning of a next step: let’s put in on the wall! The idea for the gallery was born.

Now, a year later, the gallery opened it’s doors, a carefully selected collection on the walls. A great feeling when you enter the gallery: art on the walls! You notice the greater impact seeing a work ‘live’ as opposed to virtual. It belongs there on the wall!

Photography is more than a bunch of organized grains or pixels. It’s not difficult to produce some ‘artsy fartsy pictures’. Not every image-maker, working with craftsmanship, is necessarily a good photographer. We constantly hear: “it’s a Ansel Adams”, “it’s a Cartier-Bresson”, the list is long. Masterpieces, there are many of them. Well, I don’t agree; masterpieces are about art-business and marketing.

Most important for me: the quality of the photographers. In this first issue, I will introduce some photographers to you. Photographers creating works that I think are worthwhile looking at. But then, who am I, an art critic, willy-nilly, a viewer of pictures; and mind me, I’ve seen a lot of them. And keep in mind quality is never an accident.

FP

Unlimited Grain Magazine