New York

Ruth Thorne-Thomsen

Marcus Pfeifer

In the photographs in her “Expedition” series, 1976–84, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen alluded to the great archaeological photographs of the 19th century, such as those made by Maxime Du Camp of the monuments of Egypt. In many of them, Thorne-Thomsen showed large brooding stone heads, like the fragmented remains of some sphinx, sitting in the middle of the desert surrounded by tiny figures. Taken with pinhole cameras and presented as small sepia-toned black-and-white prints, they have a somewhat fuzzy, dreamlike quality that heightens the feeling that they come from a more innocent period of picturemaking. The deep sense of space provided by pinhole cameras is also crucial in making the scenes believable, for the massive heads are actually small cutout photographs that Thorne-Thomsen stuck in the sand and then photographed from close up. These pictures recapture at least some of the sense of wonder

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