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The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time. One might argue that photography is as close to music as to painting. . . a photograph bears witness to a human choice being exercised. This choice is not between photographing x and y: but between photographing at x moment or at y moment.

John Berger, The Look of Things, 1974

Taking a picture of people through a gas lamp wouldn’t occur to a lot of photographers, but Fuka saw the lamp’s potential as a container for the people on the street. It looks like an hourglass, and since the people appear to be waiting for something the two ideas work together. A photograph represents a moment in time, adding yet another layer of meaning.

Eva Fuka used darkroom special effects to create this picture. The entire photograph was printed at the correct exposure, then Fuka “burned” in the area outside of the gas lamp to darken it by adding light to the print in the darkroom. Burning and dodging (holding back light from a print) are techniques many photographers use to give different parts of prints different exposures in the darkroom. Fuka took the technique a step further to create an unnatural scene that comments on time.


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Minneapolis Institute of Arts