The Midway is an ongoing series which I began in 1998. These images of the North Carolina State Fair were made with a 4×5 pinhole camera and large format b&w film.
I originally made these as contact prints, in platinum/palladium. At that size, I felt they suggested nostalgic and timeless postcard views from long ago. I later made digital transparencies of the original 4×5 film and made them as larger contact prints, also in platinum/palladium.
Fairs and amusement parks present a nightmarish dream world to me. The pinhole camera— with its long exposures and often exaggerated perspectives— exploits this vision, emphasizing a slightly skewed and fluid world.
When I first began this series, I wanted to find a way to reveal the Fair as I remembered it as a child— at once scary, exciting, foreign, and filled with color, strangeness, and wonder. I wanted to commit those memories to film as a magical dreamland.
I love that those unavoidable long exposures with pinhole result in the ghostlike disappearance of moving crowds. And I like the unknown and the happy accidents that often occur with pinhole cameras. I feel I am at my best, photographically, when that element of the unknown is a constant.
Obviously the images emanate more from my mind’s eye, rather than from any literal perspective. For me, they are the closest to documenting both the feeling and the unreliable and fugitive childhood memories of experiencing The Midway for the very first time.
About Diana Bloomfield
Diana Bloomfield, photographic artist and native North Carolinian, currently lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. Specializing in 19th century photographic printing techniques, with a concentration on gum bichromate, platinum, and cyanotype processes, her images are exhibited internationally and are widely published. Diana is also a book artist, incorporating her handmade prints into one-of-a-kind books. She is represented by the Ryan Gallery of Art Intersection, located in Gilbert, Arizona, and photo-eye Gallery, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. [Official Website]