Saturday April 6, 5-7pm
The Dedee Shattuck Gallery is pleased to present CAMERA OBSCURA: Pinhole Photography from Marc St. Pierre and Marian Roth. Camera obscura (Latin for "dark chamber") is the natural phenomenon of light piercing a small hole and falling on a darkened screen -- creating an upside-down and backwards image of whatever scene that hole faces. Recorded by 4th-century-BCE Chinese and ancient Greeks, this phenomenon is often considered only a historical footnote in the journey to the complexity and riches of modern photography. These two artists, however, continue to explore camera obscura, creating photographs that have the ethereal and painterly quality of something handmade, rather than the machine-made sharpness of realism we associate with photography. Building their own 'pinhole cameras,' the artists show the enduring magic of capturing light with nothing more than photosensitive paper, a pinprick, and a dark chamber.
Unpredictability, distortion of picture plane and infinite depth of field are some of the aspects that draw me to pinhole cameras. With pinhole photography, the construction of the camera is a critical element of design, because the specific shape and size provides the filter from which the images will be formed. For example, I use the cylinder shape to promote distortion on the picture plane. In addition, the absence of a viewfinder introduces compositional features that are unpredictable and which I enjoy. As such, the use of this tool lends itself to images that are revealed only later in the process.
My recent work has led me to seek images in the many nature trails in the area, as well as the urban environment.
Marc St. Pierre received his BFA from University Laval in Québec City, Canada and his MFA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He maintains a studio at Hatch St. Studios in New Bedford and is professor emeritus of fine arts in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UMass Dartmouth. He was the recipient of a one-year grant to study printmaking at Atelier 17 in Paris with Stanley William Hayter. He was also awarded an artist residency at St. Michael's Printshop in Newfoundland, Canada. His work has been in several exhibitions including "New England Impressions: the art of printmaking", juried prints at the Fitchburg Art Museum, which traveled to Kleve, West Germany. Recently, he was included in the portfolio: “East/West: a survey of American Printmaking” an exhibition that traveled across the UnitedStates. His work is included in the Canadian Art Bank, Le Cabinet des Estampes in Geneva, Switzerland, Meditech, MA, collection and numerous private collections.
For the last twenty plus years I have been making images with cans, found objects, a Dodge Caravan, or various rooms and buildings, which I convert into cameras. Camera obscura photography (as I practice it) is a very idiosyncratic and intimate experience. There is a certain feeling of mystery and timelessness inherent in the imagery itself, and I try to open time and space even more by bending the focal planes and printing on hand coated paper. Lately I have been using digital cameras inside the camera obscura, making images with the light falling on the manipulated focal plane.
While most of us look to photography to accurately reveal something of the world around us, I like to use it to transform the apparent world, to make a new and other place. I yearn for the other side of things, the things I can’t see with my eyes but which somehow appear, as if through magic, inside the camera obscura.
Marian Roth began making camera obscura images in the early 1990s, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Pollock Krasner Foundation, The National Seashore, various family foundations, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She has received the Provincetown Art Association and Museum Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award and was honored with a twenty year retrospective of her work, “On Bended Light” in 2017. She has shown her work widely and is represented in Provincetown by the On Center Gallery.