24 hours in photos

This installation by Erik Kessels is on show as part of an exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam that looks at the future of photography. It features print-outs of all the images uploaded to Flickr in a 24-hour period…

24hrs_small_0.jpg - 24 hours in photos - 3828

This installation by Erik Kessels is on show as part of an exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam that looks at the future of photography. It features print-outs of all the images uploaded to Flickr in a 24-hour period…

As you might imagine, this results in a lot of images, that fill the gallery space in an avalanche of photos. “We’re exposed to an overload of images nowadays,” says Kessels. “This glut is in large part the result of image-sharing sites like Flickr, networking sites like Facebook, and picture-based search engines. Their content mingles public and private, with the very personal being openly and un-selfconsciously displayed. By printing all the images uploaded in a 24-hour period, I visualise the feeling of drowning in representations of other peoples’ experiences.”

The aim of the What’s Next? exhibition is to provoke conversation about the future of the photography on the 10th anniversary of Foam. Looking at Kessels’ installation, it’s difficult not to feel nostalgic for photography’s past and to think of the sharing of all these images as a negative, a signal that we all need to exercise more editorial control. Yet, is that really the case? Perhaps sites such as Flickr, and the general ease of use provided by digital cameras, are instead encouraging us to think differently about photography, to see it as a truly democratic artform. Can there ever be too many images in the world?

What’s Next?, the Future of Photography Museum is on show at Foam in Amsterdam until December 7. Alongside Kessels’ installation, it also includes presentations from his fellow guest curators, Lauren Cornell, Jefferson Hack and Alison Nordström. More info on the show can be found here.


CR in Print

Not getting Creative Review in print too? You’re missing out.

In print, Creative Review carries far richer, more in-depth articles than we run here on the blog. This month, for example, we have nine pages on Saul Bass, plus pieces on advertising art buyers, Haddon Sundblom, the illustrator who ensured that Coke will forever be linked with Santa Claus, Postmodernism, Brighton’s new football ground and much more. Plus, it’s our Photography Annual, which means an additional 85 pages of great images, making our November issue almost 200-pages long, the biggest issue of CR for 5 years.

If you would like to buy this issue and are based in the UK, you can search for your nearest stockist here. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.

  • looks like a garbage dump, awesome! wondering if any of my flickr images made it to the artdump.. hmm, interesting…

  • J

    I was thinking the same thing. Love it!

  • rob

    Wow this is coooooooooool

  • J

    How do they get around the copyright of printing other people’s photos?

  • imagine that! quite a lot, i too thought it was a dumpsite or something.. the mass production of digicams and printers have really changed the way photography works over the past decade or so!

  • Awh the foam gallery always has good stuff on!

    I would love to own that many books! I would never do anything though, would just be flicking and reading through.

  • irene beech

    This would be a great qualifier for “Hoarders”…. not very original.

  • Sarah

    Does anyone know which day the photos are from?

  • It’s an interesting topic – the democracy of photography. We’re in a period now where people are documenting their experiences more than ever before, but not everyone who has a camera is a photographer.

    To me there’s a difference between an image and a photograph, and since I’ve gone back to shooting film for my diary project like to feel I’m creating photographs, rather than images.

    The notion of ‘drowning in images’ as Kessels puts it is right on point. With all the unedited 200 image Facebook albums, sickly filters and apps, it’s a sense of clarity to go back to a process that’s been around since the turn of the century. I now take a lot more care in the pictures, and as it actually costs money to get them, i value them so much more than a hard drive full of files.

  • That IS a Wonderful idea ! I posted on my G+ profile a Martin Parr’s sentence about this question : “Photography’s central role is to be the absolute medium of the day. It is fantastic that there is no longer any technical intimidation. When I first started learning how to take photographs, you had to spend the first six months figuring out what an f-stop was. Now you just go and take pictures. Nobody thinks about technical issues anymore because cameras or camera phones take care of that automatically. On the other hand, you still have the option of controlling every technical aspect. It’s the most accessible, democratic medium available in the world. This has to be celebrated, and we must continually remind photographers of this.” I agree :) Thanks !

  • Well … amazing :)

    But…! In the last 3 years, only 4 customers wanted me to print out their pictures.
    At leat in total: 17 fotos.

  • SideFX

    nice, another rainforest going to waste..

  • s

    Good point J..

    perhaps they only used cc images? otherwise i would be a little skeptical.. considering the artist would have been paid essentially for using other peoples images to create this “art dump”.. does anyone have any info on this… time to get paid people haha.. :) :)

    interesting that it brings up notions of ownership.. digital imagery, internet… etc etc.. debate provoking artwork.. very good

  • Fez

    And just think how many copyright infringements are in that pile. . . .

  • FU

    cool, how many trees may that be?

  • Martin Cleaver

    What a waste of paper and ink/toner!

  • Wow, nice artwork here. All CC license? :)

  • Rachel

    Look, I don’t doubt that part of the reason why there’s so many images uploaded to Flickr a day is because people take a lot of pictures and don’t bother to pick only the best ones to upload, but I would say that part of the reason is also because Flickr is a website that anyone in the world can access, and there are many people that upload pictures to Flickr. Just bringing this up because I see that no one made a comment about this, while many people have made a comment about how the advent of digital cameras has made it easy to take a lot of pictures very quickly.

  • That is amazing and crazy. I’ve never seen so many photos before.

  • Albert

    Who needs trees anyway? I’ll try “1 week in photos” soon…

  • Dan

    I hope all the photos are recycled accordingly — looks nice, but such as waste of paper, toner…etc

    If a company did something like this they would be crucified.

  • Deb Davis

    Who gave permission for another person’s photos to be printed. Isn’t that copyright and privacy infringement ?

  • There’s no privacy issue– assuming that the photos were posted as public.

    Copyright’s a little more difficult issue, but I think “Fair Use” doctrine would apply, assuming that something like it applies in the Netherlands. Under U.S. law, these are the factors to consider:
    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

    Consider especially number 4. Generally, a copyright is violated when you, the violator, take profit that would have gone to the original producer. That’s not the case here. The fact that my random picture of a cat was used in this installation makes my image more, rather than less valuable. (marginally)

    As much as this exhibit is about a “professional” artist looking down on the unlicensed masses, I think it’s kind of weak. The most authentic art is the art people create for their friends and family. But as a visual representation of the fact that “There are a lot of people out there,” I find it very powerful.

    (oh, and if you are worried about the paper, cancel your catalogs and tell your friends to do the same https://www.catalogchoice.org/)

  • This is the beauty and the beast of our global technology revolution. On the plus side + It opens the doors for sharing and seeing the latest and most current work from people all over the globe and on the minus – most of it is still crap!

  • Stian

    Someone please think of the trees! :(

  • mike jones

    Wow… what a waste of resources, FAIL on trying to be artistic!

  • Fantastic project, great concept, and interesting images.

    I’d be honored to have a photo included, copyright or not. He is not making money on the image, just the idea, which can not be copyrighted.

    As for waste, this is a much better use of resources that all the junk mail I receive. It also created some jobs.

    Congratulations, Erik K.

  • Great! here is tons of photos, nice Arts!

  • I would like to know who has been photographing my bedroom.
    I thought I hid all the magazines under the matress.

  • Thomas Armstrong

    I wouldn’t call this copyright infringement, this artistic work is in it’s entirety transformative, no individual piece matters and the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. The aim of copyright is to support artistic endeavor not to hinder it.

  • jj

    “Fair Use” this is the only thing i disagree on… every artist has a gallery show like this with a certain fee involved… so basically the artist has been paid to simply print off and exhibit other peoples photography… which flickr i would assume does not agree with?? i dont know that for sure, just imagine so otherwise there would be a lot of trouble for them…. perhaps when said in these terms i dont agree much with this work… classic artist… using other peoples ideas for his own benefit…. nothing new here.

    cheers! :)

  • dazeley

    what a waste of ink and paper…….not very environmental friendly, but hopefully it will be recycled …. quickly!

  • Nathan

    I would have rather read the details in an infographic rather than see such a devastating waste of both paper and ink.

    It means that the exhibition is more of a comment on how incredibly wasteful this artist is, rather than anything to do with photo’s. I can’t see the photo’s for the waste, as it were.

    One of the beauty’s of digital photography is that you can experiment without a) spending much money, and b) wasting the worlds resources on your shitty memories.

    This [deleted] has just undone number 2 for an entire day and for everyone on the planet.

  • Nathan


    Well, not really. If your picture was in there would you really feel cheated? Do you think that anyone at that exhibition has any interest in your photography? Without that single picture is any value lost? Or more importantly does including that picture take anything away from you, financially or otherwise?

    The artist hasn’t stolen anything from the photographers, ideas or otherwise. I don’t like his exhibition, but I fail to see how someone who’s taken a picture of a lamppost and uploaded it to Flickr has had their idea ‘stolen’ by this artist.

    Copyright is important, but being irked that you haven’t received your cut for an infinitesimally small contribution to this show is just copyright trolling.

    As another commenter mentions above as well, this is transformative. Before people start crying for the copyright kitten deaths, they should learn a little bit about copyright.

  • babyrazor

    think that kid found one o the porn downloads?

  • Mathias.van.Driel

    The actual core of Kesslers artwork is you – trusting the assertions his concept is based on.
    It shows that people lost ideas on the virtues of internetdata.

  • Jacqui Hurst

    Wow, very thought provoking. Just loved the concept it just illustrates to what extent we are bombard by images.

  • jj


    i never mentioned ‘stolen’ and i personally wouldn’t worry about not receiving my cut… i dont make money from things i post to flickr anyway.. :)

    like i mentioned, i just think there is not much art in this… no creation.. i think Im just a bit more traditional in what i think is art and what makes someone an artist i think… but interesting debate all the same..


  • Oh wow, just a few then!
    I can imagine walking in…now where did i leave the shopping list! it was on a piece of paper roughly the size of a photo!!

  • it’s rubbish like this (get it?) that gives art as bad name. Weak argument / point, and a massive waste of paper.
    There can never be too many images in the world.

  • MadeleineSwell

    I find this to be an interesting concept. We are bombarded images. If only these images plus the spoken and written word were placed all together. In a tiny space it would be overwhelming and a headache but I guess on an everyday basis..who even thinks about it!?!

  • Mike

    When you consider that most of the stuff uploaded to Flickr in a 24 hour period is utter cr@p or porn it’s not much of a display.

  • Shai

    WASTE of ELECTRICITY printing it
    Recycling those prints that contains lots of INK will Harm even more to our precious GLOBE.

  • Mike

    What a total waste of resources. There are other ways to show the magnitude of Flickr activity without printing that many photos.

  • ok there goes the environment in the name of art.
    and what right did they have to use all those people images

  • My first thought was: ok the image has got my attention but what a waste of paper and ink toner!
    As mentioned by so many other comments on this blog.

    PS – would be interested to know how much this installation cost!?

  • That is no cool, that is not a nice move.. that’s not creative at all… nor productive!! That’s actually the dumbbest idea I ever saw.. Think before printing must be the policy.. and it makes me think that you didnt think at all before doing such a waste of resources. Be Disruptive, not Distructive!!

  • Jim

    See, that’s what happens when you go away on holiday and forget to re-direct the mail.

  • What about an art installation with VHS cassettes and videos uploaded to YouTube in a 24-hour period…this would be fun! Do it! :)

  • Jim

    I find it funny that people are complaining about how wasteful this work is. How much coal do you think was burned by people uploading millions of photos to Flickr in a 24-hour period.

    This works environmental impact is minimal compared to that. The internet uses a lot of electricity, which doesn’t come cheap.

  • I wonder if the artist will sell the photos afterwards? It would be fun to be able to point to a framed picture of a cat on the wall and say. “I’ll have you know that original photograph of Mr Mugglesworth was actually in a museum in Amsterdam.”

  • Real very good installation and with a lot of message

  • George Redgrave

    Jim’s comment on re-directed mail is the best :)

    And the installation shot of the young person looking at a photo is very telling – one wanders around picking up a more or less interesting image while the whole world lies in front of one.

  • Anonymous

    Stupid idea. Waste of resources. You can illustrate photos by using computer software.

  • What a load of pretentious rubbish.
    I wonder how many people were asked for permission to use their images?

  • we find it cool and makes you reflect, as good art must always do

  • jessienilo

    I would like to know which 24 hour period. I’m curious if any of my photos are part of this?

  • C.L.

    [Comment deleted by moderator]

  • MC

    I’ve been to the exhibition. There are no piles of photos; there are structures underneath a thin sheet of glued photos. There are hardly millions of photos; just a few thousand. One has to wonder whether Kessels really did download flickr photos from 24 hours, or if he’s just making it up. Creative Review readers can decide for themselves what to think of this; I’m just surprised there has been no mention of this here. Eliza, did you visit the exhibition? You didn’t write much of a review, mostly repeating the provided Kessels materials. I’d be curious what you thought. As for myself, I found the production quality poor and was disappointed by the fake millions. I’m looking forward to the day when we can have smart and meaningful conversations about photography and information technology. Until then, let’s do ourselves a favor and skip over frauds.

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ MC

    No, Eliza hasn’t visited the show which is why her piece was a news story and not a review. We can’t comment on the build quality of the installation – perhaps readers who have been there can?

    On a Flickr debate about this subject, Kessels stated “In the installation I’m trying to give a representation of the amount that is uploaded every day on Flickr. On October 6th I downloaded for 24 hours the images tagged as ‘IMG’ and in weight higher than 900K. This resulted in 950.000 downloaded images. I wanted to show the photographs as a sea of images, therefore I had to create the ‘hollow mountains’ in the installation.”

    We have spoken directly to Kessels who said that around 350,000 photos of the total 950,000 appear in the show. Printing out all 950,000 proved prohibitively expensive. “But the volume represents these 950.000 images. I’m sorry if I have disappointed you with this, but hope this mail will clear things up a little bit,” he goes on to say on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/stml/6407463775/).

    Foam did trail the show as consisting of ALL the photos uploaded to Flickr in 24 hours so I understand your issue with this but perhaps the important thing to remember is that it’s an art project aimed at stimulating debate, not an accountancy exercise.

  • Graham

    So much effort to say something so obvious.

    Social media reduces mankind to an existential garbage heap?

  • misanthropia

    Maybe you are taking great photographs, not just plebeian images, but…
    you are about at the bottom of this photodump.

  • Excellend idea, I wish I could still see it somewhere.

  • John

    What about resources? How many threes for this? Enjoy while u can first world… we are coming!

  • Nancy Halloran

    so then, NOT all the 24hr snaps were printed???? what a FRAUD, and more to the point, this is typical artistic shenanigans. reminds me of that jerk who wrapped miles of fabric around outdoor areas and buildings!!! senseless, wasteful and a grand example of humanities rapid loss of survival perspective. uh oh, i think i just got ‘artistified’

  • wow thats pretty cool looking, doesn’t really look like a museum though, looks more like someone’s spare room

  • Interesting idea.

  • Sensational piece of work. It’s always going to stir up a heated debate. Job done!

  • Katy

    What a negative spiral the debate has taken! If we consider it another way, one conclusion that we can draw from the colossal number of images we share everyday is how heartwarming it is that given free creative technology people just want to express themselves and share their outlook on the world simply for the love of visual communication. I bet a large number of people whose images are in that room have taken time and effort to capture their images, select and edit them before posting. If some of the photos are a bit naff or technically flawed, so what? It’s a conversation.. to use spoken language as a metaphor..some people are more articulate than others, some people can’t spell, they should still have a voice. Photography is simply one person saying to others ‘look at this!’, it’s brilliant and that’s why so many people are into it, there’s room for everyone. People get unsettled when they realise their ‘unique’ vision isn’t that original, maybe photography can inflate your ego. I like Eric Kessels work generally, I’d say the point about quantity that this work makes only goes part way towards provoking meaningful debate, more interesting to me is how and why so many people are adopting this means of communication. Thanks to EK / CR :)

  • This reminds me of the video’s on youtube of people who take a picture every 24 hour for 2 years. It’s really wonderful to see how people evolve when they take pictures everyday. It takes some discipline too though. I’d like to see it in a museum or something. I might try it at some point in my life. Taking pictures every day for a whole year.

  • So amazing Photos and wonderful post .. thanks for sharing with us