IN YOU WE TRUST
Artists at the Curfew
This is the Cushendall Tower as you've never seen it before!
Since 1999, the Tower
has been operating as a residency for artists - managed by a trust
named after the slogan on the American dollar bill, the In You We
Trust. The owner of the Tower, Bill Drummond, who bought it from Hearth
Revolving Fund in 1993, allows artists to stay in the Tower (usually
for two week periods) on condition that they derive part of their
inspiration from the Tower or the area around Cushendall, and leave a
part of their work behind them to build up a permanent collection at
This image of the Tower
was created in May 2000 by Peter Richards, a Belfast-based artist who
makes photographs using the technique of the 19th century camera
obscura or pinhole camera. Your grandfather or great-grandfather may
have made a camera out of a shoe-box with a lens that was literally a
pinhole at one end through which light reached a light-sensitive
negative at the other. Peter has the advantage of colour photography,
and works on a large scale exposing the image directly onto colour
paper (in this case about four feet long) without an intervening
negative. As a result the colours are inverted, and the red sky you see
in the photograph was actually azure blue.
Like all good Victorian photographs, there are no people walking around
the busy village in this picture - and for the same reason, that the
exposure took "one cigarette" or about ten minutes, to make, during
which the fleeting images of cars and people made no impression.
Even with corrected colours, the Tower may look strange here if you
know it well. Partly that is due to the fish-eye lens effect of the
pinhole, but it is also caused by another of its properties, the
lateral inversion of the image, so that the left hand side of the
picture is on the right in real-life. To remind yourself how the Tower
looks like in reality, click here.
PS. In case you're
wondering how Peter exposed such a large sheet of paper through a
shoe-box, his "camera" in this case was actually a wheelie-bin!
Many other artists have produced images of the Tower in the course of their stay - here are a few more:
Scarf by Jane Twigg and Astrid Bin