Exhibition: Zoe Leonard: Observation Point, Camden Arts Centre, London, until 24 June 2012
© Zoe Leonard. Photo: Andy Keate
New York-based photographer Zoe Leonard is best known for her experimental deployments of a variety of analogue cameras.
In Observation Point, she takes a nostalgic step back, recreating the camera that predated photography.
Leonard has transformed the whole of Gallery 3 into a camera obscura. Walking through it, an image of the world outside is projected onto the floor, walls and ceiling.
The camera obscura is a naturally occurring phenomenon that has been used as a tool to understand the behaviour of light. It has allowed artists, architects and scientists to observe landscapes, sun and sky, but drifted out of popularity during the 18th century.
Leonard’s camera obscura projection is durational, transforming before your eyes, sometimes with minute changes of light, at others with a shift of movement that gives the projection a cinematic feel.
She explores how you can record and experience time and space, while characteristically pushing the boundaries of what audiences expect from photography exhibitions.
Leonard's photographs have always been full of a sense of history, so this immersive, historical projection technique is a natural progression for her.
Leonard has adopted two other galleries at Camden Arts Centre, using one to display a new series of photographs of the sun. She breaks all of the traditional rules of photography by capturing the sun directly, incorporating the lens flares and keeping the natural grain of the film.
Gallery 2 houses a sculptural installation of recovered pictures of Niagara Falls, a favourite subject of Leonard’s that she has explored in different ways since the 1980s, encouraging the audience to re-evaluate a familiar sight.
Leonard's continual exploration of perception holds the exhibition together as she evaluates the way it affects our life experiences.
- Open 10am-6pm (closed Monday, 10am–9pm Wednesday). Admission free.