Julia Margaret Cameron insisted that her portraits be out of focus, that “when focusing and coming to something which, to my eye, was very beautiful, I stopped there instead of screwing on the lens to the more definite focus which all other photographers insist upon”. Of course, it may be that she was simply defending the inevitable blur that comes with long exposure: her subjects sat for 5 minutes or longer. The images I have been capturing are all in excess of 10 minutes, and the camera is not a box, but a building.
Each of these is captured on a DSLR that is directed toward a bedsheet, hanging in a basement. I black out all windows, then cut a small aperture to allow light in.
In the image below, you can understand a bit more of the process by viewing the image upside-down. My desk on the right-hand side of the image becomes more recognizable, and you can see that the white background is a sheet suspended from the ceiling.
During the Ecotone project, we became friends with ranchers Glen and Kelly Hall from Stavely, Alberta. The image below was taken at their ranch in the Porcupine Hills of the Alberta Foothills. Their bedroom looks out over an inspiring view of their dugout (stocked with trout), and it was next to the dugout that I captured so many wildlife images of moose, deer and coyotes. It’s also where some of the first solargraphs were captured.
Again, you can make better sense of the process by viewing the image before I flipped it.
At a design residency on Vinalhaven Island, Maine (DesignInquiry – you must look at it and marvel at their program!) I was struck by the huge stones that created the foundation of the home I was staying in. I photographed several members of the Design Inquiry team and love how the images bleed off of the sheet and onto the stones: