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Taken with Time Lecture Series and Catalog Information

Taken with Time Documentary

Educational Information and Lesson Plans

Thank you to our funders!

The Print Center commissioned Ann Hamilton, Vera Lutter and Abelardo Morell to make photographs using the camera obscura. The camera obscura is a photographic device that captures an optical phenomenon in which light entering a darkened space through a small hole produces an image of the outside environment. Each artist temporarily installed a camera obscura in different locations throughout Philadelphia. The resulting images are exhibited here, each addressing the relationship between light, movement and time in photography as well as commenting on historical and contemporary issues of industry, culture, politics and religion in Philadelphia and in our greater society.†

Time is the essential ingredient of this exhibition both in the creation of the images and in the act of viewing them.†Low light levels inside the darkened box of the camera obscura necessitate a long exposure time to capture an image.†Morellís photograph required the longest duration of 6 hours, Lutterís took 105 minutes and all of Hamiltonís works were 20-to-40 minute exposures.†The process of taking a photograph which requires more than the click of a button places different demands on the subject, be it a painting, people, or a continuously active site.†The artists are not only recording the moment or making a direct imprint of the subject.†Rather, they are also creating photographs of a variety of images taking place over a period of time. The image appears upside down and reversed, caused by the fact that light travels in straight lines that cross when passing through a small opening The record of time passing is visible in all the images; for example, in Morellís photograph the top of a tree, trimmed at the beginning of the exposure, appears as an out of place shadow.†In Lutterís the long exposure causes the disturbing sense of absence of motion, whereas in Hamiltonís pictures every movement is recorded producing a ghostly, immaterial presence.†

As the creation of these works required extended exposure times, similarly, extended viewing time is well rewarded.†Many details and subtleties are missed if they are only given a quick glance.†In this age of not enough time, these pictures by Hamilton, Lutter and Morell encourage you to slow down and enjoy them, just as the artists did in the process of making them.

Jacqueline van Rhyn
Curator of Prints and Photographs
The Print Center