Umbrellas were designed to shield us from the many elements of nature. Sun. Wind. Rain. Snow. But what happens when those objects fail to protect us? Do we reject them just the same? Tossed aside and neglected, unfortunate umbrellas tell a story of loss & tragedy, abandonment & betrayal. This project showcases the beauty that is often overlooked.
In November 2009 I started taking photos of broken umbrellas. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning and said “I’m going to start doing that. Umbrellas are going to be my thing.” Oh no. It didn’t happen like that at all…
All it took was one tragic umbrella trapped under a chain-link fence of a construction site outside of a hotel in Madison, WI. I couldn’t take my eyes eyes off of it. Each time I walked by it I thought “that’s unfortunate”. On my last day there, I knew I wouldn’t get the chance to walk by it again, so I stopped and took a photo of it with my phone.
Shortly after I returned home, I started noticing more umbrellas. They just kept appearing. The second one was in a parking lot. I was getting out of my friend’s car and it was just laying on the ground like a wounded bird. Again, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
So that’s how it all started. I kept seeing more and kept feeling obligated to document them. All of the photos I take are with my mobile phone so I started posted the photos online and my friends started sending me alerts of other unfortunate umbrella whereabouts. Eventually I amassed a collection of photos and had a few art shows where I exhibited them. I also compiled the photos my friends (and strangers) sent to me into a book.
- iPhoneography in the MC Erny Gallery (audio) | WHQR 91.3fm (February 17 2012)
- Fourth Friday Kicks off in 2012: Two great shows featuring re-emerging artists and iPhone photos | Encore Magazine (January 2012)
- ‘Unfortunate Umbrellas’ to open at the Projekte gallery | Wilmington Star News (March 4 2011)
- Without Protection: Lynn Casper’s photo project captures abandoned umbrellas | Encore Magazine (December 8 2010)
- Local Artists Introduce iPhone Photography | Lumina News (February 2 2012)