Gelatin silver print
Image: 45.4 x 57 cm (17 7/8 x 22 7/16 in.); Paper: 50.2 x 60.5 cm (19 3/4 x 23 13/16 in.); Matted: 61 x 76.2 cm (24 x 30 in.)
Gift of Linda Butler and Steven Nissen and Judith K. and Sterling McMillan III 1994.205
Abelardo Morell's modern-day use of the camera obscura fuses the ordinary with the imaginary. Alluding to the drawing devices used by artists since the Renaissance to project and copy nature onto paper, his images exemplify the very essence of photography—the focused passage of light through an aperture into a sealed space. Morell finds ordinary rooms and turns them into cameras. Taping black plastic over all the windows, he leaves one 3/8-inch hole, which provides light for the image. He then sets up his large-format camera on a tripod inside the room, focuses his lens on the wall opposite the hole, stops down for maximum depth of field, opens the shutter, and leaves the room. Using eight-hour exposures, he produces simple, elegant demonstrations of camera optics. Morrell's surreal juxtapositions of the inner and outer world combine to create playful yet mysterious scenes of domestic and urban life.
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