Nancy Spencer and Eric Renner

“On Deaf Ears” is a series consisting of pinhole images creating by couple Eric Renner and Nancy Spencer. The duo began constructing these garish assemblages twenty years ago, many of which dealt with social issues of human rights, religion and sexuality. Others focus on more light-hearted matters (good to know) such as Elvis Presley, Mickey Mouse and their own relationship.

The assemblages were never created for photographic purposes but in the summer of 2001, Renner and Spencer began photographing small segments of them using a pinhole camera. In making the photographs and concentrating on small details, we realized there was the possibility of an altered context in making two dimensional images of our three dimensional assemblages. The pinhole images make use of color shifts due to long exposures (6-8 minutes), vignetting, and altered perspectives enhanced by our choice of placement of the wide-angle pinhole camera.’

The photographs are garish and bizarre. Whilst the colours are eye catching, I prefer black and white images. When it comes to creating my pinhole images I plan to shoot in black and white as I find it more eerie. The use of a pinhole camera emphasizes that bizarre dreamlike quality of it all, as it distorts the objects within the assemblages. The use of dolls and disfiguring them is also surreal and reminds me of the dolls constructed and photographed by Hans Bellmer. This collection of work has inspired me to photograph gothic dolls and objects when using my pinhole camera. The shadows and glare that my camera has created in my first pinhole images makes me realize that those effects could be used to my advantage. I plan to create surreal images many of which will deal with nightmares, dreams and death.

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