Don’t Be So Negative

Many people have photography collections squirreled away somewhere in their houses. Whether stored in their basement, attic, or strewn around more haphazardly, a cache of faded photo albums documenting the memories of years gone by sits in slumber. For German photographer Johannes Förster this was no different – his Neukölln-basement photography stash contained hundreds of images of his childhood. His collection had been carefully preserved until a seeming disaster struck: heavy rainfall this year flooded his basement and subsequently water damaged the entire collection, both photographs and film negatives.

Silver Lining (Plus Purple and Yellow)

His entire collection irrevocably altered, Förster was understandably upset. After the initial shock, however, he began to realize that the accident wasn’t so unfortunate, and that the results were in fact rather beautiful. On display at Import Projects are the surviving images of this accident, spread out over the gallery’s three rooms.


Visitors enjoying the Liquid Archive exhibition at Import Projects. Photo: Courtesy of Import Projects

The first space displays rows of hundreds of images weaving a chronological pattern of the artist’s life. His journey from a young boy attending scout camp to a teenager drinking his first beer with his friends is clearly documented: a collection of “firsts” and life experiences to which we can all relate. I smile at the young Förster at the beach, envy him photographing a rock band, and laugh at the image of his friend Walter’s first Marijuana plant.

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