Rebecca Cummins, "Er Grottino, Campo de Fiori, Rome, Italy: a recording of shadows every fifteen minutes over lunch (noon - 1:30 pm), December 3, 2003".

Rebecca Cummins, “Er Grottino, Campo de Fiori, Rome, Italy: a recording of shadows every fifteen minutes over lunch (noon – 1:30 pm), December 3, 2003”.

Rebecca Cummins

For nearly two-decades, Seattle-based artist Rebecca Cummins has explored the sculptural, experiential and sometimes humorous possibilities of light and natural phenomena, often referencing the history of optics.

Several of her photographic projects record time through the movement of shadows (in many cases her own) over regular intervals. Cummins frequently incorporates obsolete technologies such as camera obscuras, phantasmagoria and periscopes, often in combination with newer media, such as video, computers, photography and digital imaging.

In her series “The Gnomic Cafe” presented here, Cummins outlines certain inevitable truths; namely the passage of time. Her measure is the time passed in conversation with friends or by oneself, over a cup of coffee, a meal, or a glass or wine. In visualizing the lingering moment through the casting of shadows at varying intervals, Cummins’ photographic documentation of her tracings call to mind the romantic suggestions of passing time found within such longstanding fine art genres as café scenes and still lives.


Rebecca Cummins earned her BFA at the University of Northern Iowa and her MA at the University of New Mexico. She lived in Sydney, Australia for 17 years and currently resides in Seattle, WA. She has exhibited widely in Australia, the U.S. and Europe including the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle, WA, the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, Alan Klotz Gallery in NY, and The Photographer’s Gallery in London. She has been commissioned on numerous projects including the Montlake Public Library Project by the Seattle Arts Commission in Seattle, WA. Cummins was recently awarded the Chancellor’s Award from the University of Technology, Sydney for the outstanding University 2003 PhD dissertation entitled Necro-Techno: Examples from an Archeology of Media.

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