The presencing of things, their announcement of themselves, quietly, phenomenally, can be extraordinary. As though always there, yet un-captured, un-assailed, these fugitive elements are momentarily held, crystallised. Even then, their ephemeral nature means they are always already departed. An instant, from the corner of the eye, then gone.
Abelardo Morell's photographs make manifest such evanescent presences. Converting interior spaces into camera obscuras he then photographs the ensuing scene. Entering the room through a tiny pin prick in the blackened out windows, the light forms an inverted image upon the interior scene. A small pinhole creates a small yet highly focussed image, and a larger hole gives a more diffuse image. Remarkable coincidences are limned within the space. Surreal, ethereal and fleeting ...
Abelardo Morell, La Giraldilla de la Habana in Room With Broken Wall, 2002
The images which enter the darkened room through the tiny hole are then gathered into the photograph, with exposures of around 8 hours, recalling Hubert Damisch's words on the phenomenology of photography.
Abelardo Morell, Shadows During Solar Eclipse, Brookline, MA, 1994
Images from Library of Dust, by David Maisel
Another set of photographs which is phenomenally alive, inflected with the mysteriousness of metaphysics as much as physics, is the project The Library of Dust, by photographer David Maisel, and including the writings of Geoff Manaugh. The eerie images are of the cremated remains of patients from a mental asylum which had been kept in copper canisters. Left unclaimed for decades, the canisters began to develop eerie, uncanny surface colourings. Surreal micro-landscapes of psychedelic flora, phosphorescent efflorescences. One imagines a re-writing of Breton's declaration:
David Maisel, Library of Dust
“He deepens a seam or fault line, in the night of the inapparent, in order to extract, lovingly or more often by force, with strokes and patches of color, blocks of the visible.” Jean-Luc Marion