A couple of years ago I came across an interesting thing in one of big city parks. There were ropes, strained between the trees and pictures, hanging on those ropes. People could come close and take a look at those pictures, and if they liked it, they could ‘book’ it with a piece of paper and come back for it later. There were hundreds of photographs of all kinds – professional and amateur, in color or black and white, small and huge, portraits and landscapes… like an Instagram, but printed out and hang on a rope! This idea initially belongs to two photographers, Olga Luvetau and Andrey Kezzin, and the first photo laundry took place in 2010 in Saint Petersburg. The whole concept just blew my mind and some time later, already in Tartu, I was finally able to try to make a photo laundry myself. It was not difficult, so it already took place twice and this spring it is going to happen the third time?
So, what this ‘photo laundry’ is all about? The idea is very simple – you bring your printed photographs and hang them on a rope, so other people can look at them – and be ready that they will book and take them away in the end. But you can do all the same, so after all, everybody may go home with a couple of nice pictures as a memento. This is not a simple photo exhibition, but rather interaction with people and exchange of your creative work with others. You will enjoy both looking at photographs of others, but probably even more – other people staring at your pictures and then booking them to take them home. This is a moment when you feel literally on the top of the world!
One of my favorite moments from the last year photo laundry was when an old Estonian lady, who was passing by, stopped and came closer to look at the photographs. She smiled at one of them and turned back to go away, when we asked her if she wants to take the picture. Her embarrassed, yet happy smile was the obvious answer, but she said she had no money for it. When she learnt that pictures are free to take, she smiled again, took carefully the photo and went home a little bit happier than she was before. I think such moments show that what you do, can bring some joy and happiness to other people and that’s why it is worth it.
It is said, a picture is worth a thousand words. Come and see by yourself!