Erik Kessels has used found photography once more to create an installation of thousands of “feet selfies” from across the internet, for the F/STOP International Photography Festival in Lepzig, Germany.
‘My Feet’ is made up of 2500 images of people’s feet, installed as life-sized prints across the floor and walls of Spinnerei archiv massiv in Lepzig. Kessels told CR that he “found the images on the internet, on various sites,” translating ‘my feet’ into various languages and using the term to search across the web. He also image searched the phrase ‘I’m bored’ which threw up a similar range of feet selfie results.
There’s feet on the beach, on roadsides, in new shoes, from the beautiful, to the battered, to toes covered in blisters. These images, in the ‘era of the selfie’, form part of the wider popular trend of sharing often alternative or unidentifiable self-portraits taken on mobile devices, across virtual communities and social media platforms.
Shoe gazing is the new trout pout in this selfie show, and visitors are invited to walk across the work with their own (bare) feet, and are encouraged to photograph them (and presumably share them) again.
This isn’t the first time Kessels has used snapshots on mass from the internet in his work. In 2011, he created 24 Hrs In Photos, as part of an exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam, which saw prints of all the images uploaded to Flickr in a 24-hour period, installed in the space in mountainous piles, representing the flood of photographs faced in an overloaded culture of image-sharing.
As the collector and mediator but not the creator of the images, Kessels’ work sparks the debate around the internet and image ownership, whilst making us question our own relationship to photography. And if we are to take our own selfies in front of these selfies, perhaps it will make us consider the question: when will we have reached the point of selfie saturation?