PDN Photo of the Day

Building Photographs In A Room, Pre-Photoshop

These images by Edie Bresler are room-sized constructions, built with found objects scavenged from the streets of New York City. Bresler made the series, titled “Ideas in a Room,” by layering the found objects in a studio and then drawing on them, as well as almost every surface of the space they inhabit. Eventually, Bresler began painting parts of what would become the final image on a sheet of plexiglass and then positioned it strategically in front of the camera lens. This helped create depth in the collages and added a fantastical element to her illusory images.

Each photograph was recorded on a single sheet of 4×5 film. “It is the camera’s ability to render extreme depth of focus, from 10 inches to infinity that makes the resulting illusions possible, ” Bresler told PDN in an email. “All the photographs were made in-camera with no Photoshop or other post-manipulation techniques.”

“It’s like walking into a daydream or an alternate universe,” said Bresler.

After finishing a piece, the room was cleared and re-painted. Then, a new search for objects began.

The series, made in the 1980s and 90s, was an experiment to see how far Bresler could “transcend the lowly origins of the discarded objects.”

Although Bresler makes very different kinds of photographs today, she still draws from the well of experiences she learned while developing this formative project. “I trust my instincts more, listen to opposition less, and always seek ways to champion the discarded and overlooked,” said Bresler.

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