Francesca Seravalle: Until Proven Otherwise / On the evidence of the first photos

Planar is pleased to host the exhibition Until Proven Otherwise / On the Evidence of the First Photos, by Francesca Seravalle, member of our Scientific Committee.

Until Proven Otherwise is a work in progress that investigates the authenticity of commonly accepted First Photos. The works will be exhibited in Planar and in different public spaces nearby. Walls, balconies, public garden… will host a special selection of First Photos around the city in order to wave historical photos into the urban pattern of Bari.

The collection includes the first photo made in Italy, the first selfie, the first instant photo, of a birthday party, of a kiss in motion, the first of a camera phone, of a volcanic eruption, of victims of war…To collate the more than one hundred pictures Francesca has spent nearly three years researching historical archives and contacting museums, institutions and inventors to prove the truth around these photos or to debunk fake myths (as the first photo uploaded on the web).

Every first photo has intriguing story behind it, as for example, the inspiration of the first pixelated photo (a scan) by Russell Kirsch 1957 by the Ancient Ravenna’s Mosaic; the first jpeg made by a scan of the Playboy centrefold Nov 1972. More details will follow soon and will be presented here.

The exhibition, winning of the Paul Hill Award Exposure FORMAT15, will show in Bari some new re-discovered First Photos and unpublished correspondences between the curator and some authors of First Photos.

“In 2013, during some “archaeological” research to discover more information about the first photo uploaded on the Web, I realized that there were thousands of First Photos that reveal the beauty of the discovery and have the power to change our society. I started to chase many first photos (from the early 1820s to the present day) following four tracks: photographic inventions, scientific and technological discoveries, historical landmarks, and first seen visions of nature. I was excited by the reveal of many unseen photos, and was astonished not only by the aesthetics of these images, but I could also imagine how amazing they must have seen to the people of their time. I contacted all the inventors alive to ask them proofs of authenticity (the inventor of the Web; the inventor of “cut, copy and paste” for the first screenshot; the inventor of Photoshop 1.0 …) and many international curators (such as the Senior Curator of the V&A, The National Media Museum, The Talbot Museum, Getty Museum, The George Eastman Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Archive of Modern Conflict, The Franklin Institute, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum etc…). When possible, I’ve researched in their private archives, collecting unpublished materials and discovering new First Photos. I’ve started to develop some aesthetic theories between them. I also discovered that these “photographic archetypes” record the intimacy of the inventor’s everyday life: their family, their house, their window, their studio and them self. They have an authentic relationship with their time, as our photos do in a family album, without any “glamour” filter. And above all they have the power of being unique and a first experience in the History.”

Notes to Editors
Francesca Seravalle (Venice, 1979) – Award-winning curator, researcher and project manager, Francesca has, over the years worked on a number of high profile art projects and exhibitions. She also collaborates as an independent researcher and talent scout for Erik Kessels and The Archive of Modern Conflict and edits photos and is a contributor to the magazines Flash Art, Secret Behaviour and DAMN Magazine.

Her recent works include Shining in Absence book (AMC – Erik Kessels) the Dalston Anatomy book – by Lorenzo Vitturi and the its show in London at The Photographer’s Gallery, at the Foam Museum in Amsterdam and CNA in Luxembourg as well as her own Until Proven Otherwise / On the Evidence of the First Photos exhibited at the Derby Format Festival, for which she received the Paul Hill Award Exposure FORMAT15 Award. She also has recently curated Alex & Me by James Pfaff, now on print.

Francesca’s work is also linked to the production of a number of projects (books and exhibitions) for Magnum Photos, both in Paris and Milan, and VII Agency. Her works are published by RVB, AMC, SPBH, Trolleybooks, Silvana Editrice.

Francesca currently lives between London and Venice and has been passionate about photography since her youth: she majored with a first class degree in History of Contemporary Art -Photography and has studied in both Venice and Paris.

September 25th from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm

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