How Vera Lutter is Capturing LACMA Through Her Transformative Photos
August 8, 2017
by Emma Drew
Starting this past spring, Vera Lutter (MFA 1995 Photography and Related Media) began her year-long artist-in-residence tenure at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), making images of the museum itself and its collection in her signature style. Lutter creates large-scale photographs using a camera obscura process, an early optical technology that relies only on a darkened room and a small opening of light to capture a likeness of the external world. The light let in projects an inverted black-and-white image onto the wall, or in Lutter's case, directly onto light-sensitive paper. It’s a practice she began in her midtown apartment in the mid-90s and often applies to architectural sites, urban environments, and landscapes.
For LACMA, she is documenting several buildings slated for demolition as part of a major museum redesign, as well as paintings from the collection; this is the first time she has trained her technique on two-dimensional objects, which will require nine months of exposure in the lowly-lit galleries. The residence will culminate with an exhibition at LACMA next year. The video below, produced by sponsor of the commission Sotheby’s, reveals some of the inspiration and intrigue behind the undertaking.