Skip to main content

Silvermine - Thomas SauvinSilvermine
Thomas Sauvin
Archive of Modern Conflict Books


Five albums each containing 20 prints
110×77 mm
ISBN: 978-0-9570490-1-7


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

We hold in the collection a single photo album produce on Life & Death, prior to Silvermines.

Silvermine - Full Set

• Nominated for Best Photobook 2013 at the 6th International Fotobook Festival, Kassel.
• Shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation First Photobook Award 2013.
• Nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014
• Chosen by Martin Parr as a Best Photobook of the Year for British Journal of Photography
• Selected by Tim Clark as one of the Best Photobooks of 2013
• Picked by Matthew Carson for ICP as one of the Top 10 Photobooks of 2013
• Selected as one of the Photo-Eye Best Photobooks of 2013

Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC) is an organisation and independent publisher based in Holland Park, London. It was established in the early 1990s and maintains an archive of vernacular material relating to the history of war, primarily photographs but also manuscripts and objects.