It’s not often that you come across a series, or style of photographs that makes your heart skip a beat. I don’t know why these images resonate with me so, it may be my current interest in shooting black and white again; it may be my interest in time, and traces, and memory; it may just be that they are astounding in how they’ve been executed and conceived.

Each of these photographs is taken as a single, three year exposure. Using home made pinhole cameras, set up on several corners around the construction site, Wesley was invited to document the construction of the Museum of Modern Art in New York as it renovated and expanded it’s building.

What results is a series of images, titled Open Shutter, that are so detailed, and layered with ghostly traces of the changing environment. You can see the solid masses of the old, unchanging buildings as a sub-layer. You can see the ethereal traces of the sun as it shifts and streaks across the sky. You can see the changing structures coming down and going up in layers. And you can see the evidence of life in the little nicks, specks and blurs that populate the outskirts and substrata of the image.

These photographs are so rich and painterly, like they’ve been drawn with ink, over and over.

9-8-2001 - 7-6-2004 Museum of Modern Art New York

7-8-2001 - 7-6-2004 Museum of Modern Art, New York


[photos via: Photo Slave]

Michael Wesley: www.wesely.org

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