Critical Mass Top 50, 2013

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Mary Ellen Bartley

Narrow Window


White Dots




Dark Sun


Sun Spots

Square Light on Wave
Mary Ellen Bartley

In the Sea Change series I’m re-photographing images I’ve taken on my daily walks by the ocean. Using only the natural light that enters my house I create multiple altered versions of the same seascapes. When I photograph the prints I capture physical shapes of light, falling from skylights, squeezing through blinds, and projecting from windows, on the surface of the paper. I further explore the surface and materiality of the prints by sometimes folding, scratching or tearing them before shooting them again. The new layer of shadow, light, and marks is a disorienting presence in the seascape view and engages the viewer to try and decipher what is a representation and what is the thing itself. The depiction of the water’s surface echoes the surface of the print and it’s tactile qualities. The primordial elements of water and light, vast, compelling subjects, are domesticated here into still life studies, small meditations on the history of light on paper, on photography itself.