Omnipotent by Robert Calafiore

Issue 100

I use a hand-built pinhole camera to create large scale one-of-a-kind, entirely analog c-prints. The subject matter of this project is a collection of ordinary glassware, some of the first objects purchased by my immigrant parents when they came to the United States from Sicily in the 1940's. It is assembled by stacking, shelving and/or balancing pieces into a single tableau, and often within a larger construction. It is then transformed by the unique recording characteristics of the camera's wide angle, the extended exposure, and the light sensitive paper's recording abilities. I manipulate the still life to control the results; altering the saturation, color, density and translucency of certain areas of the arrangement. This new way of seeing in the negative, what can't otherwise be seen, eludes to my interest in our awareness and observation of the fragile world within and around us.

My interest in process, traditional materials, color theory, and the reaction between light and chemistry is also paramount. The personal and universal stories told through every day objects, helps drive the all the work in my studio practice. Elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary...the every day to a magical place. 

In addition, the work recalls the well known 17th century cabinets of curiosity, Henry Fox Talbot's Articles of Glass, my extended families dining room credenzas, and the church niches etched in my mind from my traditional Roman Catholic upbringing, where objects of importance are revered. The grand architecture and spaces I was exposed to as a child have clear influences on my set building practice and in the way I physically relate to the world.

No digital tools are ever used. Reflecting on the endless flood and speed of changing technology, I step back and invest in prolonged experimentation, investigation and hands-on making that speak to a change in how we use our bodies, noting the difference in the physical dexterity of young generations and in the way we all see, interpret and react to the world around us, given the on-going digital revolution. My personal relationship, awareness and sensitivity to the physical world constantly inform the work. 

Robert Calafiore lives and works in Hartford, Connecticut.
To view more of Robert's work, please visit his website.