Bella Klein was born and raised in lower Manhattan. While pursuing her undergrad in Montreal, at Concordia University she converted a utility trailer into a camera obscura, called the ‘Trailer Obscura’. With that camera Klein began exploring the suburban life surrounding Montreal which led to cross country road trips with her trailer. These works have been shown as final mono prints, as well as contact printed positives in Montreal, Toronto, and New York City. Trailer Obscura simultaneously engages with the photographic road trip tradition, the North American landscape, and the history of the photographic medium. In 2021 Bella Klein completed her masters in photography at the School of Visual Arts where she continued to explore camera obscura with the project Fugitive Obscura.
I am using pre-existing objects and structures that are found in the world and converting them into camera obscuras. In doing so, I am exploring the idea of transforming the kind of things that I might normally see as an object and take a photo of, into a subject that takes the photos. What happens when the roles reverse and the subject becomes the object and vice versa. What does an object see as a subject? Through the frame of this idea I want to explore the relationship between subject and object, and also explore issues around surveillance and the democratization of picture-making that digital photography and social media have brought to the forefront of daily life. Now that everyone has a powerful digital camera phone within easy reach everyone is a photographer. What happens when everyTHING is a photographer?
In this work I am using objects that, in the past, were interesting to me to photograph while keeping the photographic trope of detritus in mind, such as broken water fountains and dilapidated buildings. These kinds of objects and structures also references traditional photographic themes that have been explored by William Eggleston, Steven Shore, Walker Evans and the Bechers. The pinhole images are shot using color paper and are presented in their original negative form. This project is, by nature, experimental and because of that the images don’t come out perfectly. What is most important to me is the paper negative from inside the fugitive camera, not whether there is or isn’t a readable image on it. These images are not meant to be clear or detailed renderings of what the subjects/objects see but by making them into something else, a camera, they take on a life and personality in the process of their anthropomorphization and each image is a portrait of that.
2018 CONTACT Photography Festival, Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2016 Toronto Gallery Group Show, Toronto, Ontario
2016 Screen, group show, Charlotte Hale Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2016 Morongo Valley Artist Residency, Morongo, California
2015 Trailer Obscura, Solo Show, Toronto Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2015 Group Show, Greenpoint Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
2013 New York to Prince Edward Island, Solo Show, Slagg Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
2012 (Silver), Graduating Student Exhibition Group Show, Concordia University FOFA Gallery, Montréal, Québec
2012 RE: Process, Group Show, Coat Check Gallery, Montréal, Québec
2012 Trailer Obscura, Solo Show, VAV Gallery, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
2011 Now What?, Fine Arts Student Association Grant Recipient Show, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
2011 Photography/Performance: Caught it Got it - Art Matters Festival, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
2010 Seven Minutes in Heaven - Art Matters Festival, Galerie Lilian Rodreguez, Montréal, Québec
2009 One Hour Project, Montreal Nuit Blanch Festival, Montréal, Québec
2021 School of Visual Arts Alumni Scholarship Award
2013-2021 David Buntzman Foundation Grant for Visual Arts, Los Angeles, CA
2016 Founding Chairman’s Award, Koffler Arts Foundation Toronto, Outdoor Art Exhibition
2009-2011 Fine Arts Student Association Grant, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
Bellaeklein@gmail.com / Phone: 646-331-8499
60 Beach street, NYC, NY 10013