Friday, September 19, 2008

small is beautiful: the camino as seen through a pinhole

Here's a project for a brave photographer: shooting pilgrims' feet.
That's what Canadian visual artist Melinda Mollineaux did when she reached the end of the Camino this May. The results were on display recently at Ottawa's La Petite Mort gallery.

Mollineaux says:

"I photographed the soles of pilgrims' feet in the Plaza de Obradoiro as we arrived in Santiago, the final destination of the pilgrimage. These photos were very special to take; they were like prayers as I knelt in front of each person, with a kind of joy, waiting as the light reflected off their feet into my camera. I spent those few seconds in awe of the fullness of a life's journey in each person - beautiful, tired and radiant - in front of me. If only we would daily approach everyone we meet like that."

What makes Mollineaux's images of the Camino unlike any you have seen before is that they are pinhole images shot with used and discarded cameras
(Pinhole cameras? takes me back to junior high physics class!) The colour images are painterly, the black-and-whites spectral, seeming to recall a lost time. I've taken the liberty of reproducing a couple of them here. There are lots more on Melinda's blog, Beauty is really good. Just look under the entry for September 8th and click on the "Small is Beautiful" slide show. There are some lovely "conventional" pictures of the Camino as well.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Wow! Thank you Robert. I never thought of myself as a brave photographer before.

I can't tell you how moving and comforting it was to read your book during my post-Camino. Your stories and insights helped to keep the Camino spirit alive back in the "real" world.

I've no shows scheduled for Toronto yet, but will certainly let you know if and when that happens. In the meantime, I'll send a link to a slideshow of the complete exhibition. I will be in Toronto the first week of October during the Toronto International Art Fair and to check-out Nuit Blanche. Are you around then?

Thanks so much again for talking about my work. Your blog is wonderful!