As an exhibition, Collected Shadows provides a rare glimpse into the scope of the Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC), an organization whose collection and exhibition practice questions how we understand the past and present through the medium of photography. Photographic archives are the main source of the AMC’s practice, piecing together historical narrative through the visual documents left behind. The AMC’s interest in collecting amateur and professional photography from the First and Second World Wars has remained since the organization’s inception, but the collection continues to develop with a wide array of photographs documenting various subjects.
Through the juxtaposition of various contexts and photographic techniques, Collected Shadows focuses on the natural and supernatural: earth, fire, air, and water accompany subjects of astrology, divinity, and flight. The AMC strives to “store, explore, and represent the lost shadows that lens-based technologies have scattered to the wind,” highlighting the criticality that can be brought into our engagement with photography.
The Archive of Modern Conflict is an organization and independent publisher based in London, UK, and Toronto, Canada. Its publications on photography and art have won and put it on shortlists for prizes including the Dali International Photography Festival Best Book Award (2011), the Grafik Design Awards (2010), the Rencontre d’Arles Historical Book Prize (2008 and 2009), and the New York Photo Fair Awards (2008). Their archive now includes more than four million photographs.