UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum


Abelardo Morell
Cuban, b. 1948
Camera Obscura Image of the Empire State Building, 1994
Gelatin silver print, edition 11/15, 32 x 40 inches

Abelardo Morell's photography transforms our experience of the recognizable into something new. In his camera obscura series that has continued for over a decade in locations around the world, Morell uses the most basic technique of photography to project the outside world onto the inside. Essentially, he sets up a camera within a camera: the room is darkened with only a tiny aperture that records an image over an eight-hour exposure. The photograph absorbs all the changes during the extended duration – light bouncing off in different directions – and condenses it into one frame, thus showing us what is invisible to the naked eye. The interaction between the interior and the exterior creates a space rich for metaphor and interpretation.