Monday, December 29, 2008

Abelardo Morell

I first came across Abelardo Morell's work about six years ago at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego's Balboa Park. I immediately fell in love with his camera obscura work. It's hard not to. Now that I have had the pleasure of visiting the Camara Oscura in Habana's Plaza Vieja, I wonder if he was inspired by it as a child. Though originally from Cuba, Morell now resides in Boston, where he is a Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

In a camera obscura, light passes through a hole and projects an image from the outside onto a surface within the "dark chamber". The image, however, is upside-down. The use of a mirror can turn the image right-side up but what's the fun in that? That's what cameras are for. The first two images above are of the Paris Pantheon and Manhattan. The two below are seasonal images of Central Park in New York.

Though well known for his images of upside-down urban scapes in lonely rooms, Morell also has a vast portfolio of more traditional photography. Perhaps my favorite theme of his is books. He plays extensively with texture, scale and of course, shadows to create rather arresting images.
Morell has even created an illustrated version of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. I can't conceive of more apt images to depict a trip down the rabbit hole.

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