Ghetto, Broomberg and Chanarin’s first collaboration with Trolley, was published ten years ago. It saw the then creative editors and principal photographers of Colors Magazine document 12 contemporary gated communities, from a maximum-security prison in South Africa to a psychiatric hospital in Cuba. Photographed entirely on large format colour negative, Ghetto took three years to produce and over time has became a popular classic within photo book history. It is now out of print.
‘Scarti di avviamento’ is the technical term for the paper that is fed through the printing press to clean the drums of ink between print runs. This by-product is usually destroyed once the book is printed. But in this case the ‘scarti’ – Italian for scraps – were saved and safely stored away by publisher Gigi Giannuzzi. Following his untimely death in December 2012 this box was discovered.
In these scraps the layering of the original images from Ghetto appear almost purposeful. The twice-printed sheets reveal uncanny and often beautiful combinations, both compositionally and contextually. In one the arm of a South African prisoner drops casually into the scene of young Tanzanian refugees perched in a tree, whilst in another an American octogenarian from ‘Leisure World’ retirement home sits almost perfectly atop the knee of a Kurdish lorry driver.
Yet in truth they are nothing more than a series of little accidents.
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are a photographic team based in London. Together they have produced three photographic books: Trust (2000) which accompanied their solo-show at The Hasselblad Center, Ghetto (2003) a collection of their work as editors and principal photographers of Colors magazine andMr Mkhize’s Portrait (2004) which documented South Africa ten years after apartheid and accompanied their solo show at The Photographers’ Gallery.