Abelardo Morell, Umbrian Landscape Over Bed, Umbertide, Italy, 2000
Abelardo Morell (1948- ) is one of the most creative photographers alive today. If you visit his website you will find remarkable, novel, often whimsical series of photographs. The creative mind of the artist is always present. I had no doubt that I would choose for the 2012 favorites list one of his camera obscura series. But then I had to pick which one, which gave me the fun of visiting all of them again..
In my post about pinhole cameras, I described the basic function of a camera obscura – the us of a pinhole of light to project onto the walls of an otherwise dark room what is outside. Morell chooses dramatic sites for his camera obscura images, often a hotel room with a view of a historic or otherwise scenic site. He darkens the windows save a pinhole and projects the scene on the opposite wall, sets up his camera to photograph the image and then exposes,often for as long as eight hours.
These pictures are inspiring, not only for the dramatic scenes chosen, but also because of the placement by the artist of the mundane, or every trappings, of the room. It is the play between these two aspects that ultimately make the image. Therein lies the artistry!
Recently, Morell has taken camera obscura images in color. Also he has created an optical device that reverses the upside down images of a pinhole camera, thus rendering them right-side-up. You can read about this at the “On Location” link on his website.
When you create these lists of fite photographs, the cliche’ often arises: “If you were on a desert island and could take only one image with you, which would it be.” I think that, for me, it would be “Umbrian Landscape Over Bed, Umbertide, Italy, 2000.” It would always remind me of the simple beauties of the world. Composed by the artist above an old time bed, the whole scene is reminiscent of a childhood story like “Peter Pan,” and I would be constantly reminded that there is magic in the world