Pinhole photographs, c.2011-2017, RA Friedman
Digital capture has created an explosion of imagery that rains down and saturates every corner of our public and private lives. It has created pictorial overload and, I believe, a kind of visual and spiritual numbness that short-circuits our ability to look and respond more deeply. Since 2010 I have been experimenting with high-speed instant film and tiny apertures (pinholes) that substitute for a glass or plastic lens. Working in close collaboration with models, I choreograph the movement and duration of inexpensive light sources to create my own image-specific chiaroscuro that plays over the human form. I labor over weeks to months, often making drawings to generate and clarify ideas. I then combine photographs digitally to create multi-figure compositions that have a gritty, nocturnal feel and are designed to feel like single, instantaneous captures. They function as an intimate depository where a multi-layered accretion of concepts and visual incident can co-exist and play off one-another. The “photographic moment” ends only when I can no longer go forward. This crystallization of time becomes a matrix in which serendipity, curiosity, and risk-taking, can unfold.