Light Touch addresses ideas of memory, home, time, light, and their relationships with consciousness, self awareness, and perception. Looking to fiction and literature references to light, the history of photography, and the light and space movement in art history, I question our physical, emotive, and psychological relationships to light as it envelops us daily within the home, rests in memory, but often escapes our notice. This body of photographs attempts to unravel the complexities of time, light, and motion, human bonds, the fragility of memory, and relationships between the physicality of touch and the immateriality of light.
Photographs are extensions of who we are, what we think, and how we feel. A room reflects a state of mind. In this body of work light is used to make photographs, activate spaces, and considered as a material. Light is a key ingredient in making photographs. It is how we see colour and form, and also how we see and experience physical objects in the world. But it is also a destroyer of materials, our skin, and our eyes. The sun is both volatile and nourishing. In my work I hope to look at both of these aspects of light both materially and pictorially, and use light as a material as much as an ingredient in image making.
Mapping the movement of the sun as it animates the spaces I frequent most, I follow the sunlight as it moves throughout these spaces over the course of each day; witnessing the subtle nuances that can only be experienced through intimate familiarity with a space over time. The home is often a person's most intimately known place. This space resonates deeply both personally and collectively as the childhood home is often an individual’s first universe. Using a combination of medium format film, multiple exposures, colour filters, and light, I attempt to catch the gestures my mother makes as she moves the drapes in her living room. Caught between stillness and motion these gestures in space attempt to capture what cannot be kept; a breath expelled, sunlight as it moves across a space through time, a human gesture, or the sensations of a memory caught in the mind.
The images in Light Touch are entirely made within the camera, and composed from multiple separate moments in time. Relying on chance and the materiality of film, changes in light with the addition of colour filters produces separate pieces of time collapsed into a single moment. The separation between the exposures could be hours or minutes. But what remains are images that plausibly rest in the mind despite having roots in reality. This extended study in the ephemeral qualities of light and the passage of time attempts to unravel our memories of the spaces we know intimately through time and lived experience. And how traces of our interior most private spaces linger in our minds long after we’ve left them behind.
Natalie Hunter wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council in producing this body of work.