THOMAS MEZZANOTTE



​​Towards the middle of the 17th century René Descartes demonstrated the optical principles that made vision possible.​​ Removing the eye of an ox he scraped off all but a thin translucent membrane from the back of the retina. Placing the eye into the  hole in a camera obscura he was able to see the scene outside his room as an inverted image projected onto the rear membrane.

​​While describing the connection between the eye and the camera obscura to a 5th grade class I recalled that demonstration and was struck by an odd thought. "Why do we imagine the world as if it is projected onto a window pain, (see Albrecht Dürer's perspective apparatus), when in fact it is projected onto a curved surface at the rear of the eye, the retina?
These images are printed in palladium on 81/2 X 11 Cranes paper. As shown here they are a but a small part of a larger body of work which was initiated as a response to  Albrecht Dürer's "Dresden Sketchbook", coupled with a abiding fascination with that question.

I have fabricated a steel stand to hold seven pinhole cameras vertically at intervals of one foot. I shoot all seven images at the same time by removing a single cover. The exposures are done on Tri-X film and developed in D-76. All the images are shot in front of a 16 foot high set constructed to give scale and perspective to the figure. The entire series for each figure, male and female, include seven shoots from 12, 24, and 48 inches for the front, side and rear for a total of 63 images each.

The anamorphic appearance of these images is the results of positioning the film so that it models the shape of the retinal surface of the eye. This is what the image looks like as it is first encountered ​​​​within the individual consciousness of the  mind.