I am an Edinburgh-based photographer and artist working primarily with pinhole cameras, traditional silver and alternative printing processes. Since I began pinhole photography I've fallen increasingly in love with it with each sheet of film that I've exposed. The simplicity and slowness captivated me. Using an empty box with no mechanics or lens, my photography is a slow, quiet conversation between camera and subject. From exposure to print, making each image is an act of faith, chemistry, and magic.
My first promising pinhole image was a self-portrait, and I was fascinated by its off-kilter time slip. Working with a tiny hole instead of a lens, individual exposures run into minutes, even hours. Visible or invisible, each exposure contains all the light from that slice of time.
We rarely see or remember people in a split-second capture of those moments between expressions: our impression is built up from watching them and seeing them over time. I became interested in the possibility of taking photographs of that sense of how we think we see someone. Perhaps it's closer to what a portrait painter would do: watch very closely for a long time, and make one image that holds all the important parts, the impression or memory of their face.
For the past few years I have been working on portraits exploring this balance between motion and stillness. Even if you hold as still as you possibly can, over the minutes your expression changes, your face moves, you breathe, your eyes wander. Small movements vanish and soften, others reshape the impression of the face, or leave ghosts of alternate expressions. I keep trying to make photographs of what I think I, and others, look like, keep trying to hold the impression of time in one image.
Balancing Act starts from ideas of stillness, mobility and time. This work comes from exploring the ideas and practical limitations of losing, regaining, and again losing my ability to walk or stand. These photographs were made between two major surgeries on my hip, and each image was exposed for the time I was able to stand.
For non-pinhole work, please visit katiecooke.com