Benjamin Mason, Sacred Work, digital pinhole photograph, 2023
Sacred Work by Benjamin Mason
on the board from February 10th- April 10th, 2023
Benjamin Mason is an artist and writer who grew up in St. Paul, MN, and has been residing on the East Side for 15 years. Active in the local arts community on Saint Paul's East Side, he is the co-director of Art in the Hollow, serves on the advisory team for the Solidarity Street Gallery, and recently held a solo exhibition of his pinhole photography at Art @967 Payne. His novel, The Masque and the Dagger was published by Mill City Press in 2011.
I stumbled into pinhole photography while trying to decide how to generate images for a novel I was publishing, The Masque and the Dagger. I learned I could use a camera’s body cap, a drill, a pin, some foam, and a can of Cherry Coke to create a pinhole lens for my digital camera. Pinhole photography has become one of my favorite ways to look more closely at the world. The photographs have an unruly energy and have the ability to capture the motion and vibe of a scene in a way that traditional photography does not usually accomplish.
Sacred Work showcases the big windows that allow light to flow into the old church at Case and Edgerton streets from the east, with silhouettes demonstrating activities of recreating the interior space and imagining new art. I wanted the photograph to capture the motion involved in converting the space from one form of sacred to another: from the spiritual to the creative. The scene is also partly inspired by the church and artistic imagery of R.E.M.'s seminal video for Losing my Religion. R.E.M.'s first rehearsal space was, in fact, a converted old church in Athens, GA.