In the twelfth issue of Useful Photography, creators Erik Kessels, Hans Aarsman, Julian Germain and Hans van der Meer take on the puzzling topic of puzzle photography. Now an archaic art, puzzles were once a standard joy for kids and old folks in the age before iPhones and Apple TV. To aid in the re-creation of an image consisting of a vast number of components, the devoted puzzler was offered an “after” photo to aim for. This photo was an exact replica of the finished piece, minus the cracks of actual puzzle pieces. This issue focuses on the photographs used to guide puzzle makers in their endeavors. Usually found on the outside of puzzle boxes, these shots are exact duplicates of the completed game. They are the perfect version of the puzzle: one without damage or missing pieces.
Seeing perfect photograph and bust puzzle side-by-side arouses a certain pensiveness in the viewer. We’re reminded that reality can never live up to our dreams… even little dreams, like finding the missing bit in Lassie’s nose.