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Lynn Valley 8

Derek Sullivan
Bywater Bros. Editions
Artists' Books
11.5 × 17 × 0.3 cm

Edited by Roger Bywater

Designed by Roger Bywater and Derek Sullivan

With the proliferation of personal digital devices in contemporary society one has seen an explosion of imagery flooding the media landscape. In today’s interconnected virtual universe every aspect of human existence is documented to such an extent that the boundary between private and public have become all but indiscernible and subjects that would have seemed unworthy of a simple snapshot in the past (like one’s meal) are mainstream topics on popular photo sites like Instagram and Facebook.

Exploring this new reality, Toronto artist, Derek Sullivan has created a set of 40 different books featuring imagery pulled from the web. What makes this project interesting is not so much the imagery itself, which encompasses the full gambit of just about everything imaginable, but Sullivan’s selection process. Rather than arrange photographs around a particular theme or subject matter Sullivan instead chose to feature images that had an identical IMG-.JPG photo tag number. Anyone who has taken a digital picture will be familiar with this photo numbering system; it’s the default program used on all iPhone and Canon digital devices. Basically every image that flows through these devices is automatically assigned a number starting with IMG-0100.JPG.

Working in a format somewhat akin to the devices themselves Sullivan chose only images from the web bearing the IMG-0100.JPG identifier for his first book, IMG-0101.JPG images for his second book, IMG-0102.JPG for the third, and so on, working his way through the IMG-.JPG numbering chain until he reached IMG-0139.JPG, which his last book in the series.

This uncanny editorial approach transforms the imagery into something akin to pure poetic data. Removed from their normal habitat for dating services, promotional announcements, and the like, Sullivan’s subtle manipulation begins to reveal a larger reality that extends beyond the picture frame. A fascinating study of photography today, Sullivan’s Lynn Valley 8 provides a rare glimpse into the larger societal compulsions that fuel the creation and dissemination of digital imagery over the internet.

  1. Lynn Valley 8

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