An Interview with the Curator of The Photocopy Club
In a matter of months, The Photocopy Club has gone from being a small internet initiative into one of the most talked about new UK based projects. Matt Martin, Sam Hiscox and Milo Belgrove call out for photographers world wide to photocopy their files, from A4 to as big as the photocopier will allow, in order to get photography back into the public orbit. With 2 very successful shows under their belt so far, Matt Martin spoke to us about its rise so far and what’s in store for The Photocopy Club in 2012.
Q. How would you describe The Photocopy Club in one sentence to someone that hadn’t heard about it?
Matt Martin: Xerography for photography.
Q. Was the decision to use black and white due to a personal preference or for practicality?
The main reason was to keep the photographers cost as low as possible. Also, in my personal opinion, when printing via a photocopier, black and white comes out better than colour.
Q. Have you found that some of the work doesn’t translate from its original colour into black and white?
Some people have attached notes saying that the original is in colour. Most of the work I don’t think it effects.
Q. It started with relying on reblogs on Tumblr, and now you’re in Grazia’s ‘Top 10 Things to do in London.’ Are you surprised at how quickly the Photocopy Club has found success?
I was taken back by how much interest it gained so quickly. We have only been going for about 3 months and submissions keep arriving every day. People just seem to like it because it’s so simple, and you don’t have to pay to enter it and people enjoy printing their photographs and sending them in packages they have made. We get some great packages, with stickers on and drawings. People who have been to the shows say that they love seeing all the different envelopes and tubes. They have become a piece of work in themselves, I have saved every envelope that has been sent.
Q. Was there a reason you decided to stay predominantly down South and exhibit in London and Brighton? Do you have any plans to take it up North?
Well I’m based in Brighton at a photography studio called CREATE. I love putting on shows in Brighton because the community of photographers and artists here are so close and really support each other. London is only 50 minutes away and it is the capital, so I thought it would be good to show there as well because it’s easier for people to get to than Brighton. We are hoping after these 6 shows to put shows on in Scotland and possibly Bristol. We have also had interest in putting on a show outside of the UK.
Q. Although on the website it states there isn’t a ‘theme’ for submissions, do you find yourself subconsciously curating the work that comes through the door into a theme?
When I’m curating a show like this I want the photography to be as broad as possible in a contemporary sense. When I first started “We Are Lucky” the photography on that was mostly snap shot, documentary, youth culture. But as I have progressed as a photographer and curator I look more for a wider range of contemporary work. We do tell people to look at “We Are Lucky” to get a general idea of the sort of work we are after.
Yeah, Tim is one of the main reasons I got into curating. Tiny Vices held such an amazing body of work, I would look through that site everyday when I was at college. I wanted to build a platform for young photographers to show their work in an online gallery. What I really enjoy is helping photographers getting their work to be seen. The first exhibition I ever put on was a group show because I wanted everyone to see how talented my friends were.
Q. You have your fingers in a lot of different pies from curation, to personal photography, self publishing, even teaching. What are you planning on focusing on the most in 2012?
Pretty much that list is what I’m focusing on. I would really like to curate more shows other than The Photocopy Club, which I’m going to work towards this year. In my personal work I hope to release a new book and get more commercial work into my portfolio and also releasing some limited edition posters and zines through “We Are Lucky”.
Q. What has been your proudest Photocopy Club moment to date?
The amount of people that came to the Beach London show was insane and also that people got so excited about buying the work. I think what I’m proud of most is that people are buying photography and supporting it. I like that The Photocopy Club can show amazing photography by amazing photographers and it doesn’t have a £500 price tag next to it. Breaking the rules is fun.
Q. In a dream situation, what do you see happening with The Photocopy Club in the future?
Well after the release of the book, I hope to do some one off shows outside of the UK working with other curators like Blood of the Young, Hard workers Club and Dana Goldstein. After that, who knows. I think that is a good dream situation. Dream team 2012.
If you didn’t get a chance to see The Photocopy Club’s most recent exhibition in London, don’t worry because the 3rd show is in Brighton on 25th April, with submissions for it still being accepted to their studio at:
The Photocopy Club
Unit D-E Level 2 South
New England Street,