Consider the camera a tool for perception. This is where I being my photographic practice. First I contemplate the subject matter, typically a landscape or space, and envision how the camera might perceive this chosen space. I then ask how I can operate or construct the tool to observe the space in an objective way.
I am particularly drawn to the pinhole camera as it breaks down the barriers between space and record, creating a pure projection of light and atmosphere, perspective and scale. The added element of time afforded by the pinhole results in an image that visualizes the presence of light and perspective parallel to experienced reality.
As I watch the silver reveal itself in the developer tray I feel as if stepping into a dream - transported to a mysterious, yet somehow familiar world. The views are imprinted on my mind, yet the final image is different from my experienced reality. They are simple atmospheric gradations of light that become place and no-place at the same time, challenging the relevance of vantage point and scale and demonstrating the affect of time on our perception of visible space.
This inquiry into the fundamental elements of photography and the surprising aesthetic I discover through this investigation is the primary driver of my photographic pursuit.
© J. Alan Paul Photography
Meghan Duda creates atmospheric recordings of space and time with a collection of handmade pinhole cameras. After earning her bachelor degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech in 2005 she began traveling the country, developing a practice photographing vernacular architecture. Born in western Massachusetts and raised on the South Carolina coast, she finally settled in Fargo, North Dakota in 2007 and was struck by the vast prairie landscape. At this point her photographic focus shifted from architectural photography to experimental landscape photography. It was while pursuing an MFA at the University of North Dakota that she built her first handmade camera which she named the Trailer Obscura - a 5’ x 8’ pinhole camera on wheels that she uses to make large atmospheric recordings of the prairie. As an Assistant Professor of Photography and Design at North Dakota State University, Duda continues to construct cameras as a way to explore vantage point and perspective and to express the many ways in which the camera perceives light.
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