Photographer Paul Duda explains the process behind his contribution to the CHAP exhibition in the John Slade Ely House/Center for Contemporary Art.
As a local (New Haven) artist, were you aware of the Orchard Street Shul before the project? I was not aware of the Orchard Street Shul prior to this project. So many times driving the street to North Frontage Road, I fell prey to the destruction of awareness due to mundane behavior. I think I know an area thus blindly drive an understood route home. I missed a real jewel of architecture many times.
Can you describe the technique you used for your photograph? My technique is that of the early photographers, the exposures of the mid 1800's with shutter speeds of twenty-five minutes and longer. I shoot on film, medium format slide film, and through filtration and development of the film I can make my exposures in the bright sunlight. The color is not digitally manipulated. Reciprocity or the films inability to record light at the same speed over time (in this case 38 minutes at an f-stop of 32.2) supplies the look of the finished photographic image. The vignette at the corners is caused by a slightly longer distance from the lens to the edge of the film plain compared to the shorter distance from the lens to the center of the film plain. All cars, people walking, bikes, and the rest of daily life simply pass through the image without reflecting enough light to be recorded. The same reason a bullet shot through a photograph exposed of 1/1000th of a second is absent in the image. The expansion of the contrast is also a natural part of the process when exposing at such lengths. The image provided shows my technique verses a more traditional exposure of slide film on the same day at the same time. How important are for you artist networks such as CHAP? I have never believed that great art can be created in a closet void of the study and influence of other artists. Any network promoting the introduction of otherwise unfamiliar artists is a wonderful opportunity for growth in ones on work.