Art historian Michel Frizot has created a photography exhibition that is refreshingly out of the ordinary. ‘Toute photographie fait énigme’ ('every photograph is an enigma') is an alternate history of photography: Frizot and his astute group of collectors rummaged around dusty attics, car boot sales, socio-historical archives and old family photo albums to find a selection of snaps that stand out from the rest.
If 'anonymous' art doesn’t usually take your fancy, this exhibition might just change your mind. The pictures on display were taken by photographers whose identities have either been forgotten or were uncredited in the press, making them beautiful visual enigmas: from a picture of the Chalais Meudon wind tunnel (1935) to one of a businessman being kidnapped by fake policemen (1938) or an aerial view of Manhattan (1917). Plus, you can finish off your visit by grabbing some 3D glasses and enjoying a slideshow of aerial views of India’s roads, Chicago’s crowds, farms, quarries and factory scenes from the beginning of last century.
The spools of film hold many mysteries – unexplained events, eccentric characters and vague locations. The snapshots are primarily powerful because of their anonymity: detached from any specific identity, their intrinsic value as beautiful shots of fleeting moments is heightened.