Resistance, surprise, mystery.

The team of Previously on Hans Lucas invited me to participate in a peculiar exercise: they asked for my help in choosing around twenty images from a group of a hundred single shots. This larger selection of scattered images had been pulled, seemingly without care, from the original series that they were a part of. The captions, texts and intentions of their authors were shorn away. The photographs had to keep their potential intact, despite being removed from all language. They had to stand up and defend themselves, alone.

But I realized this is one way of remembering that photographs cannot be reduced simply to the words that describe, explain, contextualize or analyze them. Because photographs (I mean the good ones) are fundamentally not replaceable by words—or worse, by concepts. The really good ones retain a capacity for resistance, surprise or mystery that constitute their essential charm and force.

Once these twenty pictures were selected, it was necessary to associate them, to choose contiguities at the risk of creating a sense where there was none. The final result took on the form of an exquisite corpse, a collage of images that presents itself much as we gather the words of a poem.

I hope that perhaps—perhaps—this unplanned-for nearness and unexpected proximity between the photographs will revive the curiosity of those who look and even surprise their authors.

—Eric Karsenty

Editors’ Note: See the full issue of Previously on Hans Lucas #20 on the publication’s dedicated webpage. We have featured previews of the last few issues on LensCulture—discover the whole series.