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Atsuko Morita’s Picture in Time.

Atsuko Morita is a Bay Area photographer who’s work focuses on identity and time, with a keen focus in alternative process. After having appeared in No. 11 The Wild, earlier this summer, we were able to exchange emails to talk about whats pinhole photography and whats going on this summer. See more of Atsuko’s work here.


Composite: What are you currently listening to/looking at/reading that is really inspiring you?

Atsuko Morita: Museums inspire me as they always have. Reading and studying philosophy inspires me as well. My life experiences also give me new ideas.


C: Your work shows your interest in a few common themes very clearly, however, you’ve been able to investigate each of these areas very deeply without alienating your other bodies of work. Your interest in the body and DNA has a great cross over to your interest in pinhole photography, at the core both referencing how things re made. Your interest in time comes up in both your transitory photos and your self image and aging bodies. Are these connections intentional, or more happenstance of the things running through your brain?

AM: A lot of it comes from my own issues with gender and identity. The Cells project for one example calls into the question of who we are, what makes us what we are. Early on the inspiration for some of my work may have been subconscious but now I simply find it enjoyable to play with idea and possibilities of the human body.  As far as the photos that show the progression of time, I have always felt something both poetic and inspiring about the idea of time and how nothing last forever.


C: Speaking of Transitory And your interest in capturing moments in time specifically, the most obvious way to cApture passing of time would be film. However, instead you’ve chosen to go the opposite end of the spectrum with the most basic Form of photography available, the pinhole. What drove you to use the pinhole, even versus standard 35 mm or land camera film for this series?

AM: Pinhole photography can give a picture a dreamy look and feel even slightly surreal. Pinhole photography goes back a long way and I have always admired older photographs and photography techniques. For me I just feel pinhole photography can capture the feel of passing time in a manner that other types of photography can’t do. Life itself can often seem like a dream. If the life span of a person could be captured in one shot it would be the ultimate pinhole photo.


C: Pinhole cameras are both the first project in your first photo class, and used by artists such as yourself for large beautiful work. Being incredibly rudimentary object, needing nothing more than a dark close able space with a hole poked in one side, the possibilities of customization are endless. What interests you about pinholes? Do you have an ideal pinhole set up/style, or do you have a collection for different uses?

AM: I have created different ones for different projects. I like the idea of making a camera. It gives me a feeling of control and gives each project the look that I visualized. I like the hands on more traditional way. I make the camera, develop the film, and print it myself in the dark room. I enjoy the process, I find it almost meditative.


C: You are making and showing work both in the US, largely in the bay, and Japan. How would you say the two locations compare and contrast as far as your experience Within their art scenes?

AM: To some degree there are different tastes that come from growing up in different cultures but I think there are more things in common. I am lucky that I have had positive feedback in both countries.


C: What is in store for the summer and remainder of 2013 for you?

AM: Just recently I entered the Residency exhibition at SOMArts and also I received honorable mention for the Juried pinhole exhibition at Rayko Photo center. I am always creating new projects and looking for gallery spaces. Now I am working on a time capsule project hoping to find many participants as possible.

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