Nominated for Best Photobook 2013 at the 6th International Photobook Festival, Kassel | Nominated for the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2014 | Selected by Martin Parr as one of the Best Photobooks of the Year for the British Journal of Photography
Silvermine is a set of five photo albums each containing 20 prints. The negatives were salvaged from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing, where they had been sent to be filtered for their silver nitrate content. Between 2009 and 2013, Beijing-based collector Thomas Sauvin amassed, archived and edited more than half a million negatives destined for destruction.
The Silvermine albums offer a unique photographic portrait of the Chinese capital and the lives of its inhabitants covering a period of 20 years – from 1985, when silver film came into widespread use in China, to 2005 when digital photography came to the fore. In these souvenir snapshots taken by anonymous and ordinary Chinese people, we are witnessing the birth of post-socialist China.
Each album focuses on a different theme: Blue album: TVs and Fridges | Green album: One and Two | Orange album: Marilyn and Ronald | Pink album: Party and Transvestites | Yellow album: Leisure and Work
"It is just a small sample of the grandiose project that Sauvin is dealing with in China but is representative of its whole philosophy. Again, a smart and funny series of five small books that become a beautiful object and the perfect record of a non-mainstream reality that would get lost otherwise." Cristina De Middel