591 Exhibition - Alyson Belcher
My work combines pinhole photography with improvisational performance, and stems from the idea that everything we experience is stored somewhere in our bodies. Movement is one way to access and give visual form to what lies beneath the surface of the skin. The making of these photographs is an exploration of the nature of each movement and where it originates internally.
Because of the unpredictable nature of pinhole photography, there is no way to really know how an image will turn out. I don’t usually begin with a clearly defined idea. The images often reveal stories that may or may not have been known to me previously. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t my stories. Often the body remembers what the mind has forgotten.
The pinhole camera is low tech; it is the most basic tool for making a photographic image. There is no lens to interfere with the light as it travels from the subject to the film. Because there is no viewfinder through which to preview the image, it’s a relatively blind process. The element of time in pinhole photography allows something to arise that might never be revealed by modern photographic technology.
The long exposure times give me an opportunity to explore the space in front of the camera. I may have the impulse to move, or I may chose to remain still—although the body is never completely still, and even the smallest movements leave traces on the film.
- Alyson Belcher - Pinhole Self-Portraits
Looking at Alyson's beautiful exhibit I want to exclaim; "I love pinhole photography!" But it is of course not the entire truth. I don't love pictures because they are taken with a Holga, Hasselblad, Leica M, Rolleiflex, Nikon D90, Canon EOS 5D or a handmade pinhole camera.
I love pictures because they tell me something, set my imagination on fire, touch my heart, make me think, upset me, make me smile etc etc. That is what it is all about. Alyson's pictures appeal to me a lot, the movement...the sentiment...the expression. My eyes are wide open...I take this images to my heart. - Mr Urbano
Exhibition ended April 5
Alyson Belcher Alyson Belcher’s work combines pinhole photography with improvisational performance. She investigates the relationship between movement and stillness by photographing the human body using a handmade pinhole camera and long exposure times.
The resulting photographs often reveal what lies beneath the surface of the skin—stories and memories that may have been held in the body over time, or perhaps are emerging for the first time. Her recent photographs include an ongoing series of self-portraits as well as collaborations with dancers and movement artists.
Alyson’s work has been exhibited in galleries from New York to Taiwan. Recent publications include Le Stenopé: de la Photographie sans Objectif by Jean-Michel Galley (Photo Poche Series, 2007) and Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes, Third Edition, by Robert Hirsch (Focal Press, 2009).
She received her M.F.A. from San Francisco State University and is full-time faculty at the Academy of Art University. Alyson is represented in San Francisco by the Robert Tat Gallery.
To see more of Alyson’s photographs, visit the gallery or go to www.alysonbelcher.com.