David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992), Untitled, 1988
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York is currently displaying A FEW FRAMES: PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE CONTACT SHEET until January 3, 2010. This Exhibition focuses on the contact sheet as a work of art, and features such artists as Andy Warhol, Robert Frank, Paul McCarthy, Ed Ruscha, as well as, contemporary artists Collier Schorr and Rachel Harrison.
Rachel Harrison ‘Contact Sheet (should home windows…)', 1996
Contact (or Proof) Sheets serve an important part of the photographic process. Often the first chance for an Artist to see the outcome of a certain project and the foundation of the editing process. Contact sheets are the compilation of all the unedited images, usually printed in a grid after the a roll of film is developed, or in more modern times, the digital files processed into a batch.
Collier Schorr ‘Day Dream (Sky)’, 2007
From a photographer’s perspective, contact sheets are perhaps more intriguing, and provide insight into a certain artist’s processes. To see contact sheets alongside the final selected photograph, gives art enthusiasts a taste of what was being created moments before, and just after certain iconic moments were captured. They are photographic "director's cuts" or "out-takes" in a sense.
Andy Warhol ‘Untitled (Cyclist)’, 1976
However, this method of presentation can itself be a work of art. Especially, when the artist’s aim is not to edit these contact sheets, but rather display all the images collaged as a specific theme.