Found Photography With Volvo & Barbara Davidson


Found poems are formed by reinventing existing texts, restructuring, removing parts here and there to present them as a new form. Even T.S. Eliot’s, The Waste Land incorporated texts of Greek mythology and Shakespeare. But that was then and this is now, and though found poetry is still a credible literary form, today, found photography is an even more compelling zeitgeist.

I can imagine there’s nothing quite like buying a thrift store film camera to find a used roll of film inside, have it developed and gaze upon the life of another photographer. Images can be found anywhere and everywhere, from antique stores to the Internet. And on this latter end of the spectrum are images such as those found within the Minecraft recreation of the Bialowieza Forest.

It's an exciting frontier in contemporary photography. It's exciting because we're constantly looking at the world through a filter. A different viewpoint as dictated by our digital age. It's perhaps a contributing reason to the resurgence of medium format, 6 x 6 film photography, because people resonate with the 1:1 scale through Instagram. Our mothers did warn us we’d have square eyes from watching too much TV! Nevertheless, it’s also a contributing reason to the progression of contemporary photography. Not so long ago, photographers were achieving innovation through thinking outside the box. Today, it’s reflection on what’s inside the box that is making waves in the industry.

Those waves surged when Volvo teamed up with Barbara Davidson to launch their flagship model, the XC60. Similar to Sony cameras’ advanced phase detection, Volvo safety engineers have implemented new on-board cameras and sensors that detect potential hazards. When a cyclist, pedestrian, other car or deer poses a safety risk to the vehicle and its passengers, the camera will find them and the system will override. It’s a complex and beautiful piece of safety engineering that is best explained by Volvo and Davidson.

With three Pulitzer Prizes under her belt, photojournalist and visual artist Davidson was the ideal person to test the photographic capabilities of the Volvo XC60’s new on-board camera and sensors. Volvo’s impeccable safety is famous, across all models. Davidson herself survived a horrific car accident in one, lived to tell the tale and lives to promote the brand through art. Using the XC60, Davidson composed a series of images that explore the relationship between automobiles and humans. This project was the world’s first photoshoot using a car as a camera. The resulting images were exhibited at Canvas Studios in Shoreditch, London, and will be traveling to other countries throughout the year.

What will photography show us next?