Cardi Gallery

Robert Charles Mann

I hope one finds my photographs an experience rich in dreams and that they induce an exploration of the psyche. Several different lensless cameras are used to accomplish this. The pinhole camera has a way of suggesting objects rather than representing them because of the particular quality the pinhole image produces. This suggestive character carries with it a more profound mystery, which is not found on the surface of the image but rather in the possibilities of interpretation. The pinhole camera provides the aesthetic means needed for a subjective experience by the viewer. When this technique is combined with my themes and choice of subjects, the photographs begin to breath and become metaphoric environments.

A singular characteristic of pinhole photography is the fact that exposures are quite long, varying from seconds to hours, or in the case of these solargraphs, to months. This cumulative exposure produces effects that cannot be seen by the eye. Moving objects become translucent, having a vibrating quality, and some objects may become completely transparent in the process due to displacement during exposure. There are objects in my photographs that produce effects that seem unassociated with the object itself.

The Solargraph Series is an experiment in both method and concept. Using the idea that the path of the sun through the sky changes each day and that a long exposure will yield a cumulative image of these paths, I point the pinhole camera toward the sky where the sun will be during the six months from solstice to solstice, either winter to summer or summer to winter. The final image is not a montage of several different images, but rather the result of a single continuous exposure for six months of the sun. This work bridges old school traditional techniques with modern digital techniques. The prints for each image are made on pure cotton fiber based paper with permanent inks.

An image's significance may change with every choice I make concerning its qualities of contrast, density, and tone. A photographic image can be printed in thousands of ways. The tactile quality of the print is as important as the choice of materials.

These photographs carry the possibility of many messages. They are enigmas born to be deciphered by the viewer.

Robert Charles MANN