When a book is printed, a few extra prints are usually made at the end of the process, to clean the ink from the press. Gigi Giannuzzi, the founder of publishing house Trolley Books, kept a box of such prints, as his colleague discovered following his death in 2012. It turned out that Giannuzzi had kept all the 'cleaning prints' from a book published ten years earlier: Ghetto, by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.
London-based artists Broomberg and Chanarin have done many projects on found photography over the past few years, including their recently infamous book Holy Bible, so the fact that they have now created a book with their own 'found' photographs is intriguing. The resulting book, Scarti (Italian for 'scraps'), also published by Trolley Books, includes a selection of 28 prints that publisher Gianuzzi had kept.
The images are distinct from the original book however, since each of the 'scrapped' images appears to contain two photographs, like a double exposure. Apparently the same piece of paper was used twice when the press was cleaned, thus creating aggregates of two different images from the original book Ghetto. This book documented communities on the margins of society: a refugee camp in Tanzania, a retired community in California and a psychiatric hospital in Cuba, to name a few. The doubled prints thus create a bizarre blend of images, combining scenes from different geographical and social situations.
Sometimes the doubling creates the effect that a situation from the one photo seems to be happening in the landscape of another: a man is laughing madly in what looks like a police's storage of batons, handcuffs and bullet-proof vests vests. In another image, somebody seems to have set up a tent underneath a table, while his horse is pasturing just by the right table leg.
Besides the bizarreness, there is beauty in the images. One of the most arresting images, also chosen as the book's cover photo, features two men standing in approximately the same position. They're both wearing the same pyjama-like clothing, which makes the doubling even spookier. Each is holding a remote shutter in his hand to take their own photograph, and they surrender to the camera in different, yet dedicated, ways: one clicks the shutter while holding his arm up, and the other brings his hand to his chest. And while one man hangs his head, the other looks solemnly into the camera lens. There is something almost religious to this image of a double-armed and double-headed person: as if the moment of surrendering blurs one's single personality into more than one.
While leafing through the book, one could suspect the publisher might've made a few extra prints on purpose, deliberately doubling them while looking for interesting combinations. But, as a short text at the end of the book explains, these images are all 'little accidents'. The chance pairings in Scarti show that creation is not always about considered labour, but can be as simple as gathering serendipitous moments, day in day out.
Scarti is available for sale from Trolley Books.