May 13 – July 9, 2017
Susan Dobson is interested in the ways that our present day understanding and uses of digital and electronic photography are informed by the technologies, aesthetics, and values of photography of the past. With her works in Viewfinder, Dobson depicts large-scale meditative scenes of water, shot at all five of the Great Lakes, on large format film with a historic camera. The film was then scanned and digitally overlaid with scans of the ground glasses (also known as viewfinders) of large format cameras.
"By using a camera and ground glass similar in design to the ones that I scanned, I was able to physically reconnect with the medium’s history and image-makers. To emphasize the material nature of working with film negatives, I did not retouch the dust, fingerprints, and film labels, or the marks made by metal clips that held the negatives in place during development. Heightening these material qualities are the unique markings on each ground glass. Many photographers chose to draw compositional lines and notations on their ground glasses using pencil, pen, or grease. These markings operate as indexical signs of the photographers who came before me, inferring an important connection between photographer and subject matter. They imply careful compositional planning and a commitment to slow and sustained looking, in contrast to the almost instantaneous production and transmission of images we experience today."
Image: Detail of Cambo, circa 1950, 2014, digital C-print, 47 x 61.6 inches