The premise of One Hour Photo is simple: project a photograph for one hour, then ensure that it will never be seen again.
The experience of One Hour Photo is also, on the surface, simple, almost programmatic: project one work per hour, each by a different artist, for the duration of the exhibition; provide a simple, meditative space for viewers; finally, document the exhibition on this web site with release forms signed by the artists.
From this simple concept, a range of themes emerge, some of which we present below, many of which we leave to the viewer to discover and experience.
In One Hour Photo, photography’s original impulse to capture a moment, to freeze and frame it, is turned outward, to the experience of viewing itself. The hour is the exposure, the moment that is captured in the frame of a temporary, provisional observation. Each work ceases to be a photograph: it erases its medium, its status as art object, as it becomes a pure moment of perception to be experienced, framed, and captured by the viewer. In this sense, the viewer becomes the camera, recording the moment on the unreliable format of memory. The viewer also becomes photography itself, as it feels its familiar constructs slip away: permanence, reproduction, ownership, control.
One Hour Photo is also a collective exercise in giving up control, of letting go. The release forms signed by the artists and curators serve as literal testament to this release.
One Hour Photo also raises an updated version of a popular paradox: if a photograph shows for one hour in an empty room, and no one sees it, can it be said to exist at all? The role of the viewer is critical—without her, the work does not exist at all. As the viewer becomes the camera, the task of seeing, of framing, of honoring the perception and the image shifts to her.
Ultimately, we hope that the show both reflects and problematizes our experience of the present conditions, which are marked both by dizzying increase (more, faster, and smaller bits of information swarming by in constant streams) and also by seemingly irreparable loss (of time and attention, of community, of the natural world).
With these thoughts in mind, we invite you to spend some time with One Hour Photo.
Adam Good, Chajana denHarder, and Chandi Kelley
Adam Good is a creator, performer, and curator living and working in Washington, D.C. His performance lectures, interactive experiences, and installations utilize appropriation, remixing, participation, and improvisation to involve participants in radical new ways of creating meaning. More information about his work can be found on his website, www.therealadamgood.com.
Chajana denHarder is an interdisciplinary artist who was born in the red light district of Amsterdam. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Chajana has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work investigates divergence and assimilation: change in form and the assimilation of self into other people, places and states of being. She currently lives in Washington D.C. You can view her work at www.chajana.com
Chandi Kelley graduated with a BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. She is a Co-Founder of the artwork subscription service Project Dispatch. She lives and works in Washington D.C. Visit her at http://chandikelley.30art.com/ for more information.