Fine Art Photography Daily

Covid Projects: Rolls and Tubes Collective


©Christy McDonald, At War With TP, 2020 / after William Eggleston, Untitled, Marcia Hare, Memphis, TN, c.1975

During a year of stress, isolation, and uncertainty, four artists created a photography collective with a focus on reinterpreting photographic history with gleeful levity and a few rolls of toilet paper. This project is such an oasis in the desert of pandemic sorrow.

Rolls & Tubes Collective is comprised of four women photographers from California: Christy McDonald, Colleen Mullins, Jenny Sampson, and Nicole White. The commodification of the commonplace has become a running theme of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having made homebodies of us all, COVID-19 has created absurd rolling shortages, of flour, hair dye, and of course, toilet paper. This was the genesis of the ongoing work by the Rolls & Tubes Collective. In this work, each of the four artists has reinterpreted a known photograph in the arc of contemporary, and the history of photography, utilizing toilet paper as an element of the image.


©Christy McDonald, Rolling Along, Berkeley, 2020 / after Gilbert Garcin, On the Road, Marseille, 2011

Working in a documentary and street photography style, Christy McDonald is a Berkeley based photographer who, in normal times, travels extensively using photography as a way of learning about and interacting with the world. With a specific interest in Arab cultures and language, and an on-going (but now delayed) project in the Middle East, her work aims to show the beauty of the places and people she photographs but to also convey a sense of cross-cultural relatability and familiarity. Closer to home, Christy wanders the streets anywhere from California to New York focusing her lens primarily on people but also the occasional land or seascape. For several years she’s also been working on a project in the California Central Valley photographing the small towns and micro cultures that exist there.

Christy low-key likes to brag about being a 5th generation San Franciscan, swimming daily in the SF Bay without a wetsuit, and listening almost exclusively to 90s rap. She’s also pretty proud of herself for making it to the home-stretch of raising two teenage daughters who’ve taught her everything there is to know about today’s slang, fashion and pop culture. Christy has been a working photographer in some shape or form for 20+ years and holds a BA in Photography from UC Berkeley. Her work has been exhibited, commissioned, published, collected and has won a few small-time awards. She currently has a piece from Rolls and Tubes being exhibited at ICP in New York City.  Instagram: @christymphoto


©Christy McDonald, Fiona, TP Rollers, May, 2020 / After [Photographer Unknown], Sara Thom, HairDo, September, 1963


©Christy McDonald, San Francisco, 2020 / Josef Koudelka, Prague, 1968


©Christy McDonald, Photo Noir et Blanc, 2020 / after Man Ray, Noir et Blanche, 1926

McDonald_Wegman X

©Christy McDonald, Maggie, 2020 / After William Wegman, Pat, 1998

Colleen Mullins is a San Francisco based photographer and book artist. She holds a BA from San Francisco State University, and an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her work is concerned with incongruous storytelling, ranging from environmentally-concerned urban forest management after natural disasters to the monument removal movement. She has been the recipient of numerous grants including four Minnesota State Arts Board and two McKnight Fellowships. Her work is in the collections of Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Southeast Museum of Photography, and the United States Embassy, Moscow among others. Mullins’ work has been seen in various periodicals, including The New York Times Lens, PDN, The Oxford American Eyes on the South, Black & White Magazine, and Monthly Photo, to name a few. Mullins has been an artist in residence at Vermont Studio Center, Penland School of Craft Winter Residency, and In Cahoots Residency. She was recently nominated for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, for her project Expositions are the Timekeepers of Progress, and has been exhibited extensively in the United States. Her work examining gentrification in San Francisco, The Bone of Her Nose, will be shown in a solo exhibition at The Griffin Museum in Boston in July. Instagram: @colleen_mullins_photography


©Colleen Mullins, Charmin, San Francisco, 2020 / after Harry Callahan, Eleanor, Chicago, 1947


©Colleen Mullins, Roll No. 30, 2020 / after Edward Weston, Pepper No. 30, 1930


©Colleen Mullins, Helicoid: Maximal Wipe, 2020, after Hiroshi Sugimoto, Helicoid: Minimal Surface, 2004


©Colleen Mullins, Chartum purgamentum init carota, 2020 / after Anna Atkins, Alaria esculenta, 1848–49


©Colleen Mullins, EVERY…Roll Is Different, Ingredients; tubes and rolls collected in two visits from Instacart America, 2020 / after Mandy Barker, EVERY…Snowflake Is Different, Ingredients; white marine plastic debris collected in two single visits to the shoreline at Spurn Point Nature Reserve England, 2011


©Colleen Mullins, Pandemic Frenzy, 2020 / after Anna and Bernhard Blume, Kitchen Frenzy, 1986

Jenny Sampson is a Berkeley-based photographer and received a B.A. in Psychobiology in 1991 at Pitzer College. Her focus is wet plate collodion, traditional black and white photography, and collage arts. Sampson is a member of the Rolls and Tubes photographic collective. She has exhibited her work in the United States, United Kingdom and has been published in Zyzzyva, Analog Forever Magazine, BBC, GirlTalkHQ, The Hand, SHOTS Magazine, All About Photography Magazine, Lenscratch, The Guardian, The Eye of Photography, PDN and Visual Communications Quarterly. Her work is included in the Candela Collection and other private collections. A monograph of her Skater tintype portraits was published in 2017 by Daylight Books and her follow-up series, Skater Girls in September 2020 for which Sampson was awarded the Book of the Month from Leica Fotographie International. Instagram: @jennysampsonphotography


©Jenny Sampson, Loser for Rolls and Tubes by Jenny Sampson, Drawing by Jenny Sampson, 2020 / after Barbara Kruger’s for New York Magazine, Photograph by Mark Peterson, 2016 Jenny Sampson Toiletpaper Collection, 2020 / after Andreas Gurskey’s Turner Collection, 1995 Jenny Sampson untitled / after Gita Lenz, untitled ©Jenny Sampson, Loser for Rolls and Tubes by Jenny Sampson, Drawing by Jenny Sampson, 2020 / after Barbara Kruger’s for New York Magazine, Photograph by Mark Peterson, 2016


©Jenny Sampson, T.P. Lincoln, 2020 / after Anthony Berger’s Abraham Lincoln, 1864


©Jenny Sampson, Toilet Paper Roll, 2020 / after Tina Modotti’s Oil Tank, 1927


©Jenny Sampson, Toilet Paper Camellia Not in Water 2020 / after Consuelo Kanaga’s Camellia in Water, 1927-1928


©Jenny Sampson, Rolls in Jenny Sampson’s Basket, 2020 / after Imogen Cunningham’s Eggs in Ruth Asawa’s Basket, 1956


©Jenny Sampson, Toiletpaper Collection, 2020 / after Andreas Gurskey’s Turner Collection, 1995

Nicole White is a Bay Area artist and curator. White uses historical and contemporary photographic processes to examine the medium’s varied functionality while looking at the American cultural landscape. She holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art a MA in Art History from the University of Connecticut and a MFA in Studio from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent exhibitions include: Beacon, Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati, OH (2020), An Object of Their Own, Perspectives Gallery, MIAD, Milwaukee, WI (2020), and Interior Life, Filter Space, Chicago, IL (2020). She is a Professor of Art (Photography) at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA. Instagram: @othernicolewhite


©Nicole White, U.S. Paperological Survey, Surface of Scott Extra Soft, Day 36, 2020 / after U.S. Geological Survey and NASA, Surveyor III, Surface of the Moon, Day 319, W-F, 1967


©Nicole White, Fig. 2: Tearing the sheet (TP 2PLY 400 SQ. FT., 4×4 IN., Manufactured by Target Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota), Ever Spring, 100% Recycled Bath Tissue, FSC Certified, Whitened Without Chlorine Bleach, No Added Dyes or Fragrances, Barcode no. 829576023035 (2019, Target Brands, Inc.), 12 Rolls Bathroom Tissue, 300 sheets per roll (10.1 cm x 10.1 cm, 37.1m2), Model: Nicole White, Nicole White’s Apartment, Oakland, California, United States, April 30, 2020 / after Christopher Williams’ Fig. 2: Loading the film (ORWO NP15 135-36, ASA 25, Manufactured by VEB Filmfabrik Wolfen, Wolfen, German Democratic Republic), Exakta Varex IIa, 35 mm film SLR camera, Manufactured by Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen, & Co, Dresden, German Democratic Republic, Body serial no. 979625 (Production period: 1960–1963), Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar, 50mm f/2.8 lens, Manufactured by VEB Carl Zeiss Jena, Jena, German Democratic Republic, Serial no. 8034351 (Production period: 1967–1970), Model: Christoph Boland, Studio Thomas Borho, Oberkasseler Str. 39, Düsseldorf, Germany, June 25, 2012


©Nicole White, Mallet Smashing TP, 2020 / after Harold Edgerton, Hammer Smashing Light Bulb, 1933


©Nicole White, Shelter-in-Place Official Portrait, 2020 / after Pierre-Louis Pierson, Countess of Castiglione, 1863/66


©Nicole White, Clammy Hands (Wet TP), 2020 / after Vik Muniz, Dürer’s Praying Hands, 1993, from the Equivalents series / after Albrecht Dürer, Praying Hands, 1508, / but also after Alfred Stieglitz, Equivalent, 1930


©Nicole White, Advertisement, 2020 / after Paul Outerbridge Jr., Advertisement, 1938

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