“records of things seen”

This major long-term project aims to create an archaeological archive, capturing digital proto-fossils which may in the future be discover and used as historical artefacts. At the same time, the project brings into focus for the contemporary audience, the political and socio-economic state of contemporary society and the impact of its unsustainable consume and dispose culture.

The first catalogue in the archive (2017) comprises 405 individually photographed discarded objects captured in-situ on a single walking route, primarily my walk to work. Each year the amassed images for that period will be encapsulated as a catalogue which over time will build into an archive of thousands of discarded objects and remnants narrating the ravenous consumption of the 21st century. Rather than photographing vast landfill sites or oceans of plastic bags, I aim to brings each discarded object into heroic focus, sparking curiosity, while confronting the viewer with the unavoidable familiarity of the objects themselves to challenge the viewers own consumer behaviour.


The images are presented on 43cm x 242cm long banner prints. Each banner comprises an Instagram style grid of 3×16 (48) images, each image is 14cm square. Nine banners are required to show the entire collection. Each year catalogue will be available as a book in due course. The current years archive (2018) is available to view on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/of.things.seen

A partial collection of the 2017 archive was presented at The Glass Tank Gallery, Oxford Brookes University, December 2017 as part of DreaMFActory, an interim show of work by the first cohort of students on the newly established Master of Art in Fine Art course.

The current archive is available to view on instagram @johnblythe65


The complete set of images from 2017