ICEBOX GALLERY presents: Push
Button Memories / Landmarks Worldwide
During a 15-month period ending in 2006 Orin Rutchick traveled the world candidly photographing people as they experienced and often documented themselves standing in front of historic landmarks and famous tourist destinations.
The Push Button Memories Project began with discovery and fascination that at any given moment, at certain places all over the world, people are taking pictures of themselves and their surroundings. The images in this exhibit seem to reflect people and place in a moment of time almost like a mirror does. Seen together, the series of images appear as though each was made on the same day but in many different places on Earth. Orin Rutchick shows us that globally - people are recording their special moments with cameras in very similar ways.
The rapid change in image capture technology is evident through out the world and Orin Rutchick captured it in this series. His early images show a mixture of film and digital cameras in use, as the months went by that equipment was eclipsed by the sudden popularity of cell phones with built in cameras.
Orin Rutchick’s photographs employ a wide-angle lens and each is printed in color. Each image is unique in content but similar in composition. Because many of the landmarks are crowded with tourists new people are forever cycling through. Almost everyone stops pulls out a camera and photographs the site. Many people photograph each other, sometimes taking turns making pictures of themselves and the tourist site in the background. In some of his newest work Rutchick shows us how many people make self-portraits with their cell phone camera by turning their back to the landmark and with their arm extended put themselves in the picture. “I was here.”
A very fascinating global similarity of people’s habits shows up in this exhibit, it is created graphically by the fact that Rutchick made all of the pictures within short period of only fifteen months. Another interesting feature is the similar composition and related use of the wide-angle lens making the pictures sharply focused and clear. Tourists often appear alike in appearance from place to place, always unaware they have become the subject another photograph, many times caring a backpack, and seen posturing to make a photograph or hamming it up for a friend’s camera. This is partly why this body of about 50 images all work as a whole strangely appears to be made on the same day.
This body of work led Orin Rutchick to be awarded a 2006-07 McKnight Fellowship.
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