Sandy Turned These Images Into Psychedelic Art
Could you imagine what to do if 40 years of work dedicated to capturing instances of life and history were just obliterated? Well Randy Taylor can. The American documentary-style photographer nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 at age 22, found his entire collection of images destroyed after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New York back in 2012. Taylor’s archives, which represent solitary moments like the pregnant Princess Diana vacationing in the Bahamas, and the notorious Iraqi-Embassy shooting in Paris, went underwater after the storage facility where they were kept flooded.
It took weeks for Taylor to gain access to his unit, when he finally did he described the scene to Slate, ‘I descended into the smelly, wet, and dark bowels of the powerless building, which had flooded floor-to-ceiling with contaminated water.’ When he reached his collection of photographs, mold, mildew, and various forms of bacteria had engulfed the negatives, prints, and slides. Some of the materials completely dissolved and were lost, but some coincidentally had been harmed in stunning ways.
Saving 300 out of the 30,000 images Taylor had seized throughout his career by cleaning the mold with rubbing alcohol, these surviving documents morphed into psychedelic and crystallized works of art. Take a look and what these once destroyed photographs have become, which are also now on display in Berlin’s Stadthaus Ulm as a series called Destructive Art.
Destructive Art is open to the public in Germany until June 21, 2015
Photographs courtesy of Randy Taylor