The Photocopy Club is a small Brighton-based initiative with a big message. Founded by photographer Matt Martin, the project invites people to send in photocopied images of their work with the purpose of being assembled into a group exhibition. Spreading the word via Tumblr, and with the help of fellow photographers Milo Belgrove and Sam Hiscox, the trio have attracted attention from just about every corner of the globe, receiving enough submissions to warrant monthly shows.
Photocopying is the cheapest way to get your work printed. I love that people are still excited about going to the printers, covering their envelope in stickers and drawings and posting it around the world
With a successful first expo having taken place in December at the Brighton space CREATE, the next instalment opened at BEACH on Brick Lane last night, and submissions are now open for their next show back in Brighton. Described by the curator as “a giant zine that everyone can take a page from”, everything shown by The Photocopy Club is available to buy for as little as £2 with all proceeds going towards turning the concept into a book. “With art becoming increasingly only affordable by the rich, photocopying seemed like the obvious medium to turn this on its head,” explained Martin. “It’s about allowing people to own art again.”
Dazed Digital: How did the project come about?
Matt Martin: The project came about because I wanted to make a platform for contemporary photography that was accessible to everyone. Myself and other photographers I know are all ways making zines and sending each other prints and I wanted this to work on a grander scale so photographers all over the world could get there photography off the blogs and into peoples hands. Photocopying is the cheapest way to get your work printed. I love that people are still excited about going to the printers, covering their envelope in stickers and drawings and posting it around the world.
DD: And how did you go about promoting it?
Matt Martin: I wanted the blog to be updated everyday with all the post that was coming in. We did this by photographing everything and making films of opening all the post. I got my mate Jack Wells to design the logo, which is based on the 1960's Xerox logo. Then hit the blogs and all the online magazines with posters we made and also got out there with flyering and putting up posters in Brighton and London.
DD: What has the response been like?
Matt Martin: The response has been through the roof. From day one of setting up the site and getting the word out, post has been flying through the door. We have had work submitted from all over the world and had over 300 submissions from places including Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, America and Italy. I love seeing all the different stamps from all these countries and they all come with great little notes from the photographers saying how much they like the project, which means a lot.
DD: What’s your favourite image you’ve received?
Matt Martin: One of favorite ones is by a photographer called Van Robison that was sent in for the London show. It is about A0 width and 5 meters long. It looks epic. We also got a new submission the other day by Michael Barolet, which is a portrait of Ed Templeton and a beautiful photo of two people swimming in a lake.
DD: Has there been anything particularly memorable for good/bad reasons?
Matt Martin: The best packing was from my mate Joe who runs "one giant arm". He sent his photocopy in a plastic cider bottle and chucked some sweets there to. Would have loved to see him taking that in to the post office.
DD: What do you think the future will bring for The Photocopy Club?
Matt Martin: The future is looking good. After the sixth show we are releasing a book of all the exhibition layouts and the best work from each show. I have been in talks about putting on some shows in other cites in the UK and also a show in San Francisco. I just want to put on as many shows as I can and get people printing and buying photography again. So yeah, watch this space!
Open until Sunday 5th February. Submissions for the Brighton Show are now open and the deadline is on the 18th of April.
Follow Fiona Cook on Twitter here @fionawcook