A new twist on his technical method comes in the form of an unusual apparatus: a tent camera with a periscope lens that projects the image onto the floor. This takes us away from backdrops of walls and doorways with fancy moldings and introduces new textures: the rocky dirt ground of the desert, a carpet of pine needles, streets of pockmarked cobblestones and old bricks, and even the crackled surface of a tar roof. The surfaces are matched to the landscapes that adorn them, providing both deeper context and an additional layer of visual complexity: Acadia National Park in Maine on the needles, the Brooklyn Bridge on the tar roof, the Florence Bapistery on the cobbles.
Most importantly, this new approach flattens out the picture plane, removing the undulating distortions created by the physical depth of the rooms, as well as eliminating the mystery of what the room is "seeing". The result is a much more painterly feel, the texture mixing with the image itself, becoming almost Vik Muniz-like: a postcard picture of a desert landscape made out of rocks. I think this will open up a whole new area of experimentation for Morell, where unexpected juxtapositions of image and texture might generate new visual effects. Who knew the ancient camera obscura had so much more to offer?
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
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