times: Tue-Fri 12-5pm; Sat & Sun 11am -4pm;
Pin-hole photographer Mary Foulkes presents a series of work which highlights Oxford Castle’s most secret and unexplored corners.
Mary Foulkes studied art at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, from 1998 to 2001. Foulkes uses experimental photography to explore the distinctive atmospheres of deserted places during the transition from day to night.
“I am interested in places that seem unremarkable by day but take on a different character as the sun fades, slowly being transformed by a combination of obscure darkness and the distorting effects of artiﬁcial light.
My long exposure photographs, mostly taken with homemade pinhole cameras, capture a wide spectrum of light that the naked eye can’t detect. The result is not a representation of what was seen but an experiment in exploring the possibility of recording the essence of a place.
I either make my own cameras or adapt basic cameras to simplify the process of capturing on ﬁlm the shifting spectrum of light over time. Even though I use long exposures I avoid using a tripod, so the view of the place is dictated by the existing surfaces that are suitable for resting my camera on. This often leads to images that show the place from an unusual angle, confusing the scale of and relationships between objects.
The crudeness of the cameras and the lack of technical wizardry in my approach to photography (I am not a trained photographer and rely heavily on trial and error) result in images that seem quite random - almost accidental. It is this element of chance that excites me and drives me to continue creeping around at twilight, putting out perforated biscuit tins and gathering them up after dark to see what they’ve caught.”