Minox Files

Mark van den Brink

1997 - Ongoing

The MINOX FILES is an ongoing photography project that began in 1997 and continues to evolve. All photographs have been made with an analog Minox Spy camera, sometimes coupled with binoculars.

In 1997, I graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Rietveld School of Art & Design) in Amsterdam, presenting a series of photographs made with the Minox Spy camera. This subminiature camera (negative size 8x11mm) was perfect for carrying and photographing on a daily basis. I found myself with a kind of smartphone 'Avant la Lettre’. Uninhibited and working in an experimental yet unpretentious manner, a style of poetic diary-like images automatically emerged that gives an account of my travels and life.

Today, my archive consists of more than 15,000 photographs, filed like postcards in drawers and indexed by number, date and place. This way of archiving dictates both format and presentation of the photographs, yielding a clear grid. Like a puzzle with endless combinations, the archive has a life of its own. I am currently digitalizing my archive which in turn presents new discoveries and possibilities.

The NRC, a leading newspaper from the Netherlands, reviewed an exhibition of my work as- ‘-LIKE A WARM VOYEUR- Distance/Intimacy… Van den Brink's photographs move between these two poles, which in unison have the character of an imaginary journey along places that are sometimes recognizable yet nowhere mentioned by name. He photographs with the uninhibited gaze of a traveler who is in love with everything.’

In collaboration with the renown publisher Willem Van Zoetendaal, I am working on a book titled MINOX FILES, planned for the end of 2021. Recounting near and far away travels, this book will cover the years 1997-2017. It will be archival-like in format and have more than 350 photographs to further my cataloging and journal-like method of shooting democratically, yet still hold a poetic vision and personal feel for mystery.

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