William Gedney/ Lost and Found.

India, 1969-1971


Photographs basically work like a forefinger directed at a point of interest. It doesn’t happen very often that they transport a meaning that goes beyond the object they are pointing at. It is also a rare occasion to see a photograph where form gains the upper hand over the formative power of reality.

The road to the photographic oeuvre- it passes along the reduction of a multitude of failures to the singularity of a successful image.

The archive of a photographer consists of a pile of mishaps and a manageable amount of successes. Therefore his archive is no more meant for the eyes of the public than the content of his garbage bin.

That’s one way to see this.

Though I am disposed to believe the above, I still was happy about the opportunity to rummage in the online archive of William Gedney.

(All material copyright: Duke University Libraries/ Digital Collections)

Again and again I was amazed by the amount of near by shots, almost succeeding thus failing, just to feel a surge of delight encountering those photographs that seem to be complete to me.

Despite of the abundance of the online materials, I don’t think that I have come anywhere close to an idea who William Gedney has been.

As late as ten years after his death William Gedneys first monograph was published. It is out of print by now.

I really would like to know why the works of this photographer, who was editing his images with different book projects in mind, never found their destination during his lifetime.

I wish that somebody would edit his work to be put online alongside his archive, and I also wish that his online archive would be accompanied by more telling words than they are right now.