In today’s photographic climate, collaborative working processes and collective ways of thinking are coming further to the fore than ever before. At Unseen Amsterdam, we want to celebrate this, so we’ve introduced a new element to our programme, Unseen CO-OP. In this new feature, we will showcase the work of thirteen thought provoking artist collectives working in the field of photography today. Each week, we speak to each of the collectives to find out more about how they tick and what they have in store for this year’s edition of Unseen Amsterdam.
This week, we talk to a collective who have been hard at work for more than 25 years. Founded in 1991, Tendance Floue is a collective of 13 photographers who operate as a form of laboratory. Working to open up new horizons and diversify forms of representation in contemporary photography, they aim to collaboratively find ways to make images live and communicate in today’s world.
Photo: Kourtney Roy / Azimut © Tendance Floue
Mad in India © Tendance Floue
What is the main reason you formed the collective?
We view our collective as a laboratory, a place where we think and work as a group, opening new horizons, exploring new ideas and new ways of representing our world with photographs or videos. Whether for press, books, screenings, exhibitions or corporate assignments, the collective wishes to open every door and experiment with every medium of contemporary photography, without taboos.
Korea On Off © Tendance Floue
What sets you apart from other collectives?
Unlike an agency-type of collective, i.e. mostly dedicated to the distribution and promotion of individual photographers, we are committed to thinking, acting and producing as a group. We meet every week, usually for several hours, to discuss the various projects, ideas and opportunities. Everyone has a chance to have their voice heard, decisions are taken around the meeting table or put on hold until we get a consensus. It is intense and demanding, but it enables us to move forward together as a group. We are also committed to collective projects where everything from travelling, photographing, editing, book layout and exhibition conception, are made together, offering a truly collective unique vision. In this sense, the group becomes its own entity, acting almost as an extra photographer within the collective.
Mad in China © Tendance Floue
Could you give us an insight into what you have in store for Unseen CO-OP 2017?
At Unseen Amsterdam we will focus on the printed page. We have been making collective photobooks for more than 20 years, whether with exclusive project-based material or images from our archives. In addition to a selection of framed prints, we will show a rolling selection of our collective books and spreads up on the wall(s), which we will change on a daily basis, to show the variety and diversity of our projects. We will also live edit a new chapter of our ongoing collective project, Azimut, a photographic walking relay across France, which involved nearly 30 photographers including guests, which introduces the idea of the supra-collective. Six booklets, covering the entire walking period, will be released at the end of the year. At Unseen CO-OP, we will present the first three volumes and we will work, live, on the layout of the fourth one, sharing ideas and opinions with the public.