Inspired by Alvin Coburn
Inspired by Alvin Coburn
And extremely fascinating b&w photojournalist. Some of her works were specifically focused on the *outcasts* of society. I use this word lightly, because obviously what was odd back in the day has changed. She was famous for taking pictures of such subjects (circus workers, twins/triplets, dwarfs/giants, nudists, etc)
Mari Mahr ‘13 Clues to a Fictitious Crime’ 1983
‘No real crime has been committed. The recurring face is that of my mother – youthful in a way I only knew her from early photographs.’ Mari Mahr 1984
Evoking dream-like fragments of real or imagined memories, Mari Mahr’s series of works that reflect on personal histories and journeys are drawn from her Hungarian mother’s photographic archives and found objects. They play with scale and objects confuses space and time. Her early works incorporate text, forming a strange and oblique narrative that reflects on a wide range of stimuli including films, events and situations. Drawing on the photomontage technique of the dadaists, futurists and surrealists, Mahr’s complex imagery incorporates typography, objects and images to create compositions that are then photographed, flattening the depth of plane and confusing the reading of the fictive image.
In ‘13 clues to a fictitious crime circa 1940–1941’ we are drawn into a perceived mystery: a telescopic view of a building, an aerial view of a bird flying over a town, the letter A, the number 2553, a clock reading ten past twelve, a half-hidden face, a message, fish, stars, a piano and the book ‘A house of gentlefolk’; all clues that lead back into themselves. There is no accurate narrative and Mahr herself tells us that ‘No real crime has been committed’. We have instead been part of a fiction that, like the dadaist and surrealist games and images, fractures reality and our perception of it, reflecting the surrealist obsession with sight and blindness.
- Consider the range of visual strategies used by the artist in the creation of this series of images.
- Create your own response, considering the structure of your narrative and the techniques you intend to employ to layer images and objects
- Upload your final images to your blog and write a detailed evaluation of the entire process leading to their creation, beginning with the Mari Mahr stimulus.
We had great fun today creating a camera obscura in the photography room. We blacked out the room (as best we could) and cut a small hole in the material over one window. We hung a white sheet opposite and hoped for the best. After about a minute our eyes adjusted to the gloom and we could clearly see an upside down image of the building opposite projected on the sheet. We used a 30 second exposure (ISO 3200) to capture this image.
To obtain an even clearer image we held a piece of white card close to the hole. We then decided to cover the card with photographic paper and experimented with various exposure times to capture a paper negative image (as you would in a smaller pinhole camera). I’m looking forward to making the positives tomorrow in the darkroom.
Watch this space!
The camera obscura (Latin; “camera” is a “vaulted chamber/room” + “obscura” means “dark”= “darkened chamber/room”) is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen. It is used in drawing and for entertainment, and was one of the inventions that led to photography. The device consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside where it is reproduced, upside-down, but with color and perspective preserved. The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a highly accurate representation.
By the 18th century, more easily portable models became available. These were extensively used by amateur artists while on their travels, but they were also employed by professionals, including Canaletto and Joshua Reynolds, whose camera (disguised as a book) is now in the Science Museum (London). Such cameras were later adapted by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, Louis Daguerre and William Fox Talbot for creating the first photographs.