Rosie Marks is Vivian Maier for the iPhone age

The final photographs in Rosie Marks’ first book, ‘08.14-10.19’, were selected from 80,000 options.

by Ryan White
20 January 2021, 8:00am

Owing to the ubiquity of cameras these days, and the fact that a possible 1.4 trillion pictures are taken each year, some say the art of street photography is dead. Others say it could never be made in the way it once was. Perhaps the latter is true, but the former certainly isn’t. The next Vivian Maier probably doesn’t have a box of undeveloped negatives waiting to be developed, instead it’s the iCloud where we should be looking.

Photographer Rosie Marks’ first book, 08.14-10.19, feels like a fever dream at points. With her imagery, Rosie manages to capture oddities in everyday scenarios that could otherwise easily be overlooked. Where most would miss such fleeting moments, she hones in on the uncanny everywhere; on the tube, at an airport, the beach, a supermarket, or a traffic jam.

Shot entirely on an iPhone, Rosie’s first book is not arresting despite its humble format; it is so because of it. Though lots of her work is shot on film (such as last year’s Miami 2018-2019), here her work feels free, liberated from overthinking. So, while 1000 images is a staggering number for any photo book, once you open it you’ll undoubtedly find yourself turning and turning, desperate to see the next page — from a couple kissing on the night bus to a discarded cucumber floating in a puddle.

We had a chat with Rosie about creating it, curating it, and why the book’s text comes courtesy of a psychotherapist.

rosie marks photography

**How was your 2020?
**With all things considered, it was okay. I managed to keep busy, which helped me maintain a small amount of sanity. And I was able to finally finish this book!

If these photos are anything to go by, your life seems to be a constant parade of absurdity — do you go looking for it or does it always find you?Ha! Maybe? I don’t seek out these scenarios deliberately, but often find myself encountering peculiar and extraordinary setups and people interacting. It’s about taking a moment to digest things we encounter and how beautiful but odd they can be. I used to travel constantly, which was a mechanism to my approach, though now less so. I might also add that a lot of these moments were actually found in the most banal situations. For example, the first 40 pages or so are from sitting on the tube.

**What skill do you think one must possess in order to find these moments?
**A slightly voyeuristic eye, a bit of romance? Subtlety, discretion, empathy, imagination…

**Tell us about the first image taken in August 2014 and how this body of work grew from then on…
**The earliest image is a boy with two baguettes in his mouth, sitting on a boat. The intention was never to put these images into a book, so it evolved slowly. It also never seemed like content that would be suitable for a book or material that would be considered that seriously, so in that sense these first pictures feel like my most organic/intuitive work.

rosie marks photography

**Though each image is more charming than the last, the effect of so many images is quite overwhelming. What was your process when curating the book?
**The curating process was quite intense because it was an edit from about 80,000 images. I also was not archiving much for the first two or three years so there was a lot of scrolling through old Instagram posts to work out date ranges, discovering flaws in my iCloud, lamenting the days when I deleted pictures to make room for others. Once it was down to about 1000 I printed them out, sorted them loosely into themes, and started pairing them together.

The editing process started in December 2018, but the last images were taken in October 2019, so there were numerous edits and additions until that point.

When I first showed it to Tyrone [Lebon, the publisher] he wondered what a therapist would have to say about me if they saw the images alone, which resulted in the accompanying text in which a psychotherapist analysed me, via the images alone, without knowing me personally.

**If you lost the entirety of this collection and could only save three images, which would you save?
**I haven't thought about that. I think the heft of the book, the volume, and the context of the individual pictures and the stories behind them all have meaning… then how they work together in sequence. At this stage it's hard to isolate three. If I had to save something, it would be the pictures sorted under ‘romance’.

Rosie Marks ‘08.14-05.19’ is available to purchase from DoBeDo here.

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All images courtesy DoBeDo

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