Anthony Bingham at NOCCA


A Second of Your Time
 
NOCCA
2800 Chartres Street
KEN KIRSCHMAN ARTSPACE
504-940-2787
www.nocca.com
Mon – Fri 9 am -12 pm; Sat 12 pm - 3 pm

Five artists working in photography and video consider the passage of time in their work, incorporating fundamental ideas about duration and editing that have been pushed to different extremes. Anthony Bingham is one of these artists.

Anthony Bingham currently lives and works in Birmingham, AL.

Ms. Janie of Elyton, with her rifle, Pinhole Photograph, 8 X 10 in., 2009

For people of color, photography has been a mixed blessing. It documented their status as property during the era of slavery, and later was manipulated to create or affirm negative stereotypes of people of African descent held by the dominant culture. Degrading, staged images of buffoons, mammies, and minstrels mocked African-Americans, and justified over one hundred years of legal, economic, and social policies designed to limit citizenship opportunities and the freedoms to earn a living and live in safety and peace. 

 Two Women at the D&W Store, Pinhole Photograph, 8 X 10 in., 2009

The power of photography, however, is controlled by whoever is positioned behind the lens. When African-Americans began to take their own photographs, they created imagery that reflected very different black experiences and truths. These dignified images of individuals or families in their best clothing or with prized possessions adorned the sacred places on the walls and in the parlors of African-American households. In these closed sanctuaries, protected from the scrutiny of the white dominant culture, photography offered a people a site for reflection about themselves, their possessions, and the places they had claimed for themselves. The images documented the navigation of African-Americans through the restricted spaces of the American cultural landscape, and acknowledged their visibility as a people in a land that had rendered them invisible. Photography as an art making process has enabled me to assert my presence in a culture in which I feel largely invisible. I use photography to create a voice from within the silence of the images, and hopethat the images reveal the essence of the lives of my subjects but also something about the experiences, and people and places that I value. I select cast-off materials to create my cameras, and with them construct an imagery that interprets the humanity of a cast-off people. With this body of work I set out to reclaim photography’s promise as a medium for revealing a truth about a people whose lives and experiences have born witness to so much over the last two centuries. 

The images in this collection are portraits of people taken outside of their homes or businesses using a large format (8 x 10 in) pinhole camera. Pinhole photography is an ideal medium for documenting a people who reside “outside” of the discourse around art-making and visual representation, as it is cost-effective, allows direct access to what is both an historic yet modern means of visual representation. Pinhole photography for me represents a deliberate return to an obsolete technology in an effort to get back to the origins of the relationships between photographer and subject. The process of setting up takes time, and my curious-looking gear provokes curiosity – sometimes laughter, and engenders conversation allowing time for a relationship, and stories from my subjects, to unfold.

-Anthony Bingham

EDUCATION

M.F.A., Sculpture, School of Art and Design, Georgia State University, December 2002
M.A. Film / Community Media, Goddard College, 1981
B.A. Communications Arts, Antioch College, 1976

AWARDS / COMMISIONS

Artist Residency, Cultural Alliance of Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
              Selected by the Cultural Alliance of Birmingham, to participate in an eight week residency program in the Birmingham Public Schools, in the Artists As Educators Program to teach elementary schools students in the art of Pinhole photography.
October 2009 – December 2009

Artist Residency, Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers, Balgowan, Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, South Africa
              Selected by the Fulton County Georgia Arts Council, to participate in a three week residency program at the Caversham Centre, to study printmaking and Zulu traditional and contemporary art making practices.  
January, 2009 – February 2009

Reunion Place, Public Sculpture Commission, Committee for the Centennial Olympic Games, Atlanta, 1996, Dunbar Recreation Center, Mechanicsville Community, Atlanta, Georgia

 Mrs. Boglin, Quiltmaker, at home in Fairfield, Alabama, Pinhole Photograph, 8 X 10 in., 2008