The Bearpit’s Latest Exhibition


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An exhibition of new work by Justin Quinnell, one of the world leaders in pinhole photography, will be taking place throughout the summer in the South and East tunnels of the Bear Pit in the centre of his home town of Bristol, the city where photography was invented 214 years ago*.

The series of portraits represent the first showing of a brand new technique classed as ‘Awfulogrammes’ and invented by Justin whilst teaching at universities throughout the UK. The portraits, all taken through a small pinhole in an empty aluminium beer can, are of people who use the Bear Pit and work in the area. They will be refreshed in mid July with 20 different images.
The ultra close up, wide angle images appear grotesquely distorted, however imaging through a pinhole results in a ‘genuine’ interpretation of reality rather than the visual distortions within the human eye that we interpret as ‘real’. ‘Awfulogrammes’ may give a similar perspective-view as ‘felt’ by people with no sight. The unlimited depth of field given by a pinhole, combined with the 160 degree angle of view results in a genuine vision of ourselves we may prefer to avoid.

As well as asking people to reconsider the idea of visual beauty, the presentation of the images in public display on the walls of a busy inner city subway, will have subtle additions relating to advertising and the perfume industry which Justin has significant problems with. 
‘I was born anosmic, with no sense of smell, so I find the whole industry fairly heinous’ says Justin. ‘The opportunity of combining elements of advertising and distortion seems to fit in with this area as it lies just a few meters away from the ‘asphyxiating labyrinths’ of the perfume departments in the surrounding department stores’. 

The exhibition will run opposite images by Lisa Furness in the South and East tunnels whilst the re-development of the Bear Pit is takes place forcing everyone to pass through these two tunnels ‘Giving thousands of people an opportunity to enjoy the work on their daily commute’.