The Photo Man – Mark Kologi

Mark Kologi collected and sold millions of forgotten personal photos of complete strangers all over the states.
He spends hours looking through piles of photos and observing the lives of these people flashing before his eyes. He enters his own little world, particularly on days he spends alone.
His satisfaction comes a lot from when he sells photos to people whose creative instincts have been crushed but who are then able to gain re-ignition from the images he sells, and that’s really why he’s doing this.
When he sees people viewing these photos and gathered around them he explains how this common experience which is individual and private but yet we are all sharing this emotional bond with each other as strangers.
Kologi explains his living as a ‘tide of humanity that has flooded his life’. He says sometimes people will come and look through these images and he’ll see them cry, he sometimes feels bad, that he doesn’t mean to ruin their Sunday afternoon. He questions whether or not he takes too many liberties with peoples lives, how somebody captured that particular moment, but now it’s his ‘but what else can I do, it’s better than having it thrown in the garbage’ Kologi said. He sometimes looks into the eyes of someone who had been living 100 years ago, and see’s himself. He explains his garage as a theatre screen, and reinforces the idea of us as people living each others lives as we ‘flick’ by each other once in a while.
‘That’s who I am, I’m the Photo Man.’ – Mark Kologi.

I think what Mark does is extremely unique and strange. I wanted to research about what he does based on the idea of my Phonar project, which is looking back over the lives of my parents and through their old photo’s and albums. However, the fact that Kologi doesn’t know the people within the photographs he holds is something I am unable to relate to. I definitely found it interesting to hear his thoughts on what he does and why he does it, and I do see how images can be of interest even if you aren’t to know the person, because as a photographer I see photographs of people I don’t know daily, yet I gain inspiration from them, which is similar to Kologi but he takes extra interest in gathering them together and selling them. He isn’t a photographer, more a collector.

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