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Arc of Time

�Heliograph 11071601,� C-print 25 by 15 inches, by Matthew Allred

The dramatic lingerie exhibit opening Jan. 15th at the Coconino Center for the Arts will have some exciting company.

Running concurrently with the "Underneath It All" show in the 4,000-square-foot main gallery is "The Arc of Time" an exhibition of long-exposure photographs made with a pinhole camera by Utah photographer Matthew Allred, which is on display in the smaller Jewel Gallery.

"I'm really excited about his exhibition," said Robin Cadigan, gallery director at CCA. "He was juried into Night Visions 1 1/2-2 years ago and his work was really great. I was thrilled when he applied for a solo exhibition."


Allred creates images that call into question the average perceptions that people have.

"Photography is far more capable of capturing the instant, and we have grown accustomed to its appearance," he said. "I like the idea that these images peel back reality to reveal the world beneath our preoccupations. The world of slow and continuous erosion into entropy, and the slow shift from season to season."

The photographer captures the path of the sun through long periods of time.

His exposures are anywhere from 24 hours to six months long to create one photograph.

"Throughout the history of photography, the emphasis has been on capturing ever smaller slices of time," he explained. "My approach, however, shifts away from capturing the instant and focuses on describing the expansive motions of extended time."

He uses the pinhole camera, the oldest optical device, to do this:

"... in order to capture great lengths of time, all that is required is a very small hole," he observed.


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Allred bemoans some of the advances in photography in his mission statement.

"With the advancement of technology the photographic image has become a highly resolved, razor sharp, instant," he wrote. "It is capable of describing even the most obscure minutia. But I fear what we have gained in definition we have also lost in intuition. The work I call Heliography is an examination of the extended length of the photographic moment, as well as the aesthetic possibilities of primitive cameras and chemical processes."

Cadigan said the process used by Allred is "fascinating and alive and well."

"My hope is that the images this process produces begin to reveal the ancient connection and adoration man once held for the sky and seasons," Allred concluded. "From the perspective of the pinhole the sun appears to arc across the sky and is reminiscent of the ancient geocentric model of the heavens."

Betsey Bruner can be reached at or 556-2255.

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