Others is a photographic publication created by Edward Newton, compiling of nine images that Newton found in flea markets whilst living in Brussels. Five of these images also became part of an exhibition in Brussels.
What drew me to this body of work was not only the use of found photographs but the selection he made. It is quite unusual to see photographs like these being sold in flea markets; you tend to get photographs of families, but these have a certain quality to them. When questioning Newton about the selection process, he said:
Living in Brussels the daily flea market was unlike anything I had been to before and once I discovered the first few photographs I was hooked and would visit three or four times a week. From the outset I was always looking for ‘good’ pictures, something that stood out and had a certain quality, it’s hard to say exactly what that quality is but not quite being able to put your finger on it was part of the appeal, part of the magic.
The dreamy aesthetic of each image really lend themselves to one another. These images come from an array of unknown backgrounds, without knowing the intentions of the photographer or the people/places captured, but this does not become apparent in the work. They seem to fit together; their “magic” resonates. When I asked Newton about his selection process, he said that “there was no overriding theme or big idea” but “they seemed to fit together both formally and in terms of mood and feeling.”
As well as select images being exhibited in a gallery, the images are also presented in a publication, with each image on one page folded. They are not stapled or sewn like a traditional book; the design lends itself to interactivity and interpretation. Intrigued as to whether this was the intention of the design, I asked Newton and he responded:
The loose leaf design was done in collaboration with a friend of mine who works as a designer and was made to be casual whilst having a certain elegance…enabling the owner to do what they like with the pictures, and yes, rearrange narrative etc although any great narrative has never really been a focus of mine when using these pictures.
The lack of necessity for clear narrative sort of bewilders me, for in my way of working I have always strived to find meaning and hidden codes in everything I see; I read as opposed to look. This work is open to interpretation, so Newton wouldn’t necessarily have a narrative for the images in his own mind, even when selecting the images and combining them for publication.
I think also because these images are found photographs, they have become lost, like the family photographs I collect. But with the family photographs there is a sense of authenticity through the behavioural patterns and historical context they display. The images within this work have physical context in that they are black and white, which dates them, but the only other clues we have to what is depicted is the clothing they were. Other than that, they seem lost. There is something about these images, especially when together, that doesn’t ground them; there really is a magic to them that I cannot point my finger on. This is liberating for me; I don’t have to look too deep, the work doesn’t have to be heavy with meaning. The idea is simple, the outcome is beautiful.
Carmichael, Y. (2011) Edward Newton – Others [online] available at <http://www.yvonnecarmichael.com/38b/index.php?/exhibitions/others—edward-newton/> (29 January 2014)
Highchair Editions (n.d) Others [online] available at <http://www.highchair-editions.co.uk/#/client/template.xml?aaa=portfolio/56461> (29 January 2014)
Newton, E. (2014) Others [email] to Woodward. H (4 February 2014)
Simmonds, C. (2012) It’s Nice That: Things [online] available at <http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/things-65> (29 January 2014)