Abelardo Morell, at once whimsical and brilliant

Any discussion of the pinhole camera must lead us to the camera obscura and from there to the truly inspired vision of Boston-based photographer Abelardo Morell and his book Camera Obscura (2004).  If you haven’t yet seen these works, you must.  In general what Morell has done is taken a room, covered the windows except a small pinhole, and then taken an extended image of the walls and surrounding furniture with a view camera.  So we have for instance “Boston’s Old Custom House in Hotel Room, Boston, MA 1999.”  But to me the most inspiring of these works is “Book and Camera: in Memory of Fox Talbot, 1999,” where a hstory of photography book is imaged with a homemade pinhole camera, revealing a dim ethereal image of the inventor of photography.  This is the specter that haunts us all as photographers.  It is an amazing work.

And on a more diminutive, although no less inspiring, level are his photographs to illustrate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  These are made from cutouts of Sir John Tenniel’s original classic illustrations.  For instance, the Rabbit (Down the Rabbit-hole, 1998) now peers down a magical hole or Alice (The Lovliest Garden You Ever Saw, 1998) looks tentatively into an illustration of a garden in a partially opened book – not sure whether to enter.

I leave Morell’s other works for you to discover for yourselves.  He is certainly one of the most creative living photographers.

This entry was posted in Reviews and Critiques.