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Comments (7) Posted 02.05.12 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 02.05.12


In the collecting world, it’s been said that two of something is an interest and three of something is a collection. So it goes with thematic photographic essays. Learning the impetus or reason behind such a group of similar things is always revealing. Discovering the spark behind the passion has always been a question that I ask.

In early December of last year, friends Jane and Francois Robert, both accomplished designers/ photographers, paid a visit to St. Louis where my wife and I had the opportunity to join them for dinner. The couple was passing through our city on the way to their winter home in Tucson, Arizona. Robert has recently received international acclaim for his thematic series of images entitled “Stop the Violence”, using human bones from a skeleton he acquired at an auction.

Before dinner, Francois and Jane showed me a photograph of an abandoned building he photographed in our city while on a trip earlier that same day. The building had been painted completely white, with white boarded up windows. The photograph was a strong symbol of urban decay, its heavy shroud of white paint a real estate ploy to clean up a possible eyesore.

While dinner was being prepared, Jane noticed some daikon radishes being prepared for dinner. Seeing the white rashes strikingly displayed on the black platter became the next white photo – and a series was born. 

For the rest of their road trip to Tucson, Jane and Francois were on the search for white photos. Working as a team, the result is this photographic travelogue on the subject of “white.”

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

The White Project

Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. “I enjoy the search for incredible, obscure objects that challenge, delight and amuse my eye. More so, I enjoy sharing these discoveries with the diverse and informed readers of Design Observer.”

All images © Jane and Francois Robert.
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Comments (7)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

Janeçois do it again. Beautiful work.

By the way, Pantone White is, I believe Pantone Black 0%. That's so existential.

02.05.12 at 11:32

I especially love the photos with texture. They are amazing.

02.05.12 at 11:44

Looking forward to "Black".

02.05.12 at 01:42

There are some very special people who see, think and look beyond what most people do. They have that ability to understand a symbol or metaphor or concept that has unique meaning. I purchased a book a long time ago titled “A smile in the mind” and that always seems to be the effect that I have when I see or hear something that has that special vision. It can be done with design, type, photography, music illustration or anything else that has some form of communication. These special people have that ability to show us things we would never think of.

Francois Robert has always had that gift...in his book Faces you see it dramatically presented, plus almost all of his work has that extra meaning. The “Stop the Violence” series is beyond brilliant. Whether it’s Paul Rand or Milton Glaser you always get that something extra. Steven Wright is a comedian that has that ability to think beyond the obvious...like he who say he bought a dehumidifier and a humidifier...he put them in a room and let them fight it out...or he used to work for a manufacturing company that produced hydrants...but there was no place to park.

Francois gives me that smile in my mind every time...maybe that’s because Jane who is a great designer is guiding him in the process. If you want to have some fun and feel great do the research and see all of his work.

02.05.12 at 01:59

Francois and Jane your photos make the ordinary special

02.05.12 at 03:28

love them… as always!

02.06.12 at 09:22

I would like to find out who is "Jimbo" so I can thanks that person for such kind words. Francois

02.07.12 at 03:57


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Foster and his wife, Teenuh, have been longtime collectors of self-taught art and vernacular photography. Their collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for five years and has been featured in Harper’s, Newsweek Online and others.
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