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Time frozen in “The Arc of Time” Exhibition


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Photographer goes “back to the roots” of photography, by capturing the path of the sun through long periods of time, and exposes the results in an exhibition titled “The Arc of Time”.

matthewallred8 Time frozen in "The Arc of Time" Exhibition Exposure

Matthew Allred freezes time with the help of his pinhole camera

Matthew Allred is a photographer who started his artistic life after making a pinhole camera from an oatmeal container, as a science project. From that moment on, his interest in photography got so big, that he became not only an appreciated artist, but also a respected professor at the University of Utah.

His most recent interest is Heliography, a photographic process that was invented by French photographer Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1822. The process is described by Allred as being “an examination of the extended length of the photographic moment, as well as the aesthetic possibilities of primitive cameras and chemical processes. I originally set out to build a camera that could look beyond the instant and immediate present. I wanted it to accumulate time, slowly, like a meditation on its own purpose. It was designed to continuously capture the landscape until even the sun distorted to trace an arc of time across the sky. Throughout the history of photography the emphasis has been on capturing ever smaller slices of time. My approach, however, shifts away from capturing the instant and focuses on describing the expansive motions of extended time.”

Photographers often choose to experiment with old processes. Allred has chosen Heliography and he has created “The Arc of Time” project.

Allred’s “Arc of Time”

Using only a pinhole camera, the photographer utilizes long exposures, that vary between 24 hours and a whopping six months for one photograph, to capture the path of the sun across the sky.

Long-exposure photography is nothing new, but stretching them for days, weeks or even months is something extraordinary. For this reason alone, the project is worthwhile, allowing people to see how they can experiment with this process.

In the longest exposures, the celestial body can be seen passing through seasons, an impressive spectacle that photography fans can witness at “The Arc of Time” exhibit, held at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The photos displayed by Allred are truly an arc of time and it is interesting to see how the landscapes change as the position of the sun changes, too. The exhibition is open until February 16, and can be admired in the Jewel Gallery of the Center, so, if you are near, you must check it out.

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