A couple of residencies at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, part of an exchange initiated by Fotodok, resulted in a set of cahiers. Reasons to Smile is one of them. The set includes contributions by Theo Baart (Nl) Cary Markerink (Nl), Oscar Palacio (US) and Gregory Halpern (US).
The photographs look at the position of the medium photography in the town that grew big, and then stumbled over technological and ideological developments in the medium. Rochester houses the headquarters of George Eastman’s Kodak. Eastman was the man who made photography available for the masses, through technological developments and smart advertising. Even though the company was a the forefront of the development of digital photography, it continued to depend on the production of films, which resulted in thousands of workers being fired, and the town’s economy spiralling down. Vrouwkje Tuinman wrote a text for the cahier based on her interactions with a box of photographs I bought in Rochester.