In 2004 I began making a small group of photos that I thought of as “time and space equations.” I wanted to explore how photographs express duration, or lengths of time. The work was based on a simple question: how long is a “moment” in time?
In practice the moment of any photograph is a fixed length of time corresponding to the camera’s exposure. Usually this is instantaneous, often faster than the eye can see. But the camera is also capable of describing events that occur very slowly; and photographs can show us a world that exists virtually unobserved within the increasingly fast pace of contemporary experience. In the world of the camera, a period of long duration or multiple points in time may exist side by side as the expression of one moment on a single sheet of film.
Most of the pictures in this series were made with exposures ranging from 10 minutes to two days. They may represent the length of time it took for an everyday event to occur, or the combination of making multiple gazes at a changing event or object, or the slow awareness of the normal passing of a celestial day or night. In these cases the experience of time passing takes place in ways that are different than how time is measured such as the methodical movements of a clock or the linear regime of a calendar. That change of perception is what ultimately interests me. And in the end I’m far more excited by the questions the photographs may raise than their answers.
Mark Klett is a native of Albany, NY and earned his MFA in Photography in 1977 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also attended the Program in Photographic Studies at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. In addition, he received a B.S. in Geology in 1974 from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. His work has been exhibited extensively at locations including the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Pace/MacGill Gallery, the Center For Creative Photography at Tucson, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
His twelve books include Third Views – Second Sights, Yosemite in Time, After the Ruins 1906 and 2006, Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Revealing Territory, One City / Two Visions, and Traces of Eden: Travels in the Desert Southwest. His newest book, Seguaros, is published by Radius Press and features 75 photographs of the citizens of the Socoran Desert (the tall Saguero Cactus).
He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Ferguson Award, US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, and was named Photographer of the Year by the Friends of Photography. Mark currently teaches at the School of Art at Arizona State University.