|Dave Southwood – Black & Decker, 2003|
The photographer Dave Southwood has explored the characters that filter through such a trade in his artist editioned book titled simply ‘Milnerton Market’. Launched at the AVA in November 2010 with a photographic series of works contained in the book Southwood has explored the aesthetic relation of people to objects.
As Ivan Vladislavić describes in his text:
Wittingly or not, in setting out their stalls the sellers create small tableaux of domestic life. These scenes evoke the absent worlds from which the objects have been banished. They are as moving as photographs of forced removals or evictions, where household effects standing out in a field or on a street corner, stripped of their privacy and exposed to the elements, call to mind the walls and roof of a lost home.
If supermarkets are orderly suburbs of commodities within the gated communities of the malls, then flea markets are informal settlements on the margins of exchange.
What this paper intends to discuss is the indexical relation of photography to the typology of people that Southwood explores. The banal and the quotidian, rendered in the visible in the photographs of objects and stalls, serve as intricate traces of the extended lives of their sellers.
In this sphere of lasped commodification nestled in the margins of exchange, emerges portraits that celebrate the everyday, the dirty and the synthetic, whilst at the same revealing the raw humanity that finds its definition in such objects.