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Comments (2) Posted 01.19.14 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Foster

The Renewed Art of Embroidered Photographs


As a snapshot collector, I often come across photographic images that have been altered in some way. Commonly found are painted photographs — those black and white images that have been “colorized” before technology gave us color. Photos that have been drawn and written on is another collecting niche I enjoy.

I happen to own several actual photographic postcards from the turn of the last century that have been embroidered. These paper cards are embellished with decorative embroidered stitching that were created for tourists, and most of these seem to have come from Spain, Portugal, Germany and other European countries. More recently, an Italian born artist by the name of Maurizio Anzeri has found great success with his embroidered photographs, obviously inspiring a few other artists to take the needle and thread to photographic images. Anzeri's work is gorgeous, bringing with it elements of extraordinary design and such masterful perfection it makes me feel as if it were created by computer — not that I find that detracting. If it is done by hand, one stitch at a time, that’s great. If he uses a computer program to create his stitching — that's fine too. It's ingenious work.

While I enjoy the work of Anzeri, who is the first person I know of to reinvent and bring new art to a centuries old craft, it is Dutch artist Hinke Schreuders whose embroidery on photographs excites me now. Her work feels more “statement orientated” in the images I present here. Additionally, her work with thread is very intuitive and raw, different than the work of Mr. Anzeri.

Judge for yourself. Few creative things today are truly new — it's the work that builds on, pushes forward and continues to invent that gets noticed.


embroidered photographs
Embroidered postcard, Ebay item

embroidered photographs
Embroidered postcard, Collection of John Foster

embroidered photographs
Embroidered German postcard, c.1925, Collection of John Foster

embroidered photographs
Embroidered German postcard, c.1925, Collection of John Foster

embroidered photographs
Embroidered postcard, c.1925 

embroidered photographs
Embroidered words by Helen Roberts

embroidered photographs
Embroidered words by Helen Roberts

embroidered photographs
Embroidered words by Helen Roberts

embroidered photographs
Embroidered Photograph © Maurizio Anzeri / Saatchi Gallery

embroidered photographs
Embroidered Photograph © Maurizio Anzeri / Saatchi Gallery

embroidered photographs
Embroidered Photograph © Maurizio Anzeri / Saatchi Gallery

embroidered photographs
Embroidered Photograph © Maurizio Anzeri / Saatchi Gallery

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo

embroidered photographs
Hinke Schreuders, embroidered photo
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Comments (2)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

Thanks, John! I's never seen the old postcards, Roberts or Schreuders. What do the backs of the old postcards look like? I find "statement oriented" work more compelling—great descriptor. Have you seen Julie Cockburn's work? Interesting to me that these are all Europeans.
Anyway, I've been adding more drawings to my work. Hopefully I'll be posting some new images on my FB page today or tomorrow.

01.20.14 at 09:52

Nice article. This is definitely interesting stuff (new to me). I like the idea melting two totally different media together to create something "bigger". There are some really nice pieces in the line-up.
When I browsed through the images the first time Anzeri was the clear winner.
Scrolling back up from the bottom of the page I realized that I like the european Postcard embroidery the best.
Just to make sure I made the right choice I started scrolling down again and I was glad I did, because I was wrong again, my favorite was really Schreuders.
Damn, what just happened? Did I judge to soon? Did I look at it the wrong way (too much left brain involved)? The more I look at these photo-embroiderings they seem to me to come to life. Each piece has a little story to tell-how it was made-how much effort (labor) went into the historic background for example.

On the european embroidery I like the superior craftmanship, or the precision it was made and the social history behind it (turn of the last century Germany?).

Anzeri; I like the geometric "Miro like"exploration and abstraction the artist took.

Schreuders pieces I feel like how the original picture seems to diffuse and morph into something totally different.

Thanks again for showcasing this very inspiring and cool art I have never heard about before.


01.20.14 at 03:38


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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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