Photo Credit: Aberaldo Morell

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Event Details

Thu, May 17, 2018 to Fri, September 14, 2018

19:00 – 21:00

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italia

Inside Out

Camera Obscura Views of Villas and Their Environs

The Photography of Abelardo Morell

Villa La Pietra, Florence

Early History

I made my first picture using camera obscura techniques in a darkened living room in 1991. In setting up a room to make this kind of photograph, I cover all windows with black plastic in order to achieve total darkness. I then, I cut a small hole in the material. This opening allows an inverted image of the view outside to project onto the back walls of the room. These images are the photograph of this effect. My exposures using film in the early days were very long – as much as eight hours.

Present Use

I now use a lens over the hole in the window dark plastic in order to add to the overall sharpness and brightness of the incoming image.  I often also use a prism to make the projection come in right side up. I have also been able to shorten my exposures considerably thanks to digital technology, which in turn makes it possible to capture more momentary light. I love the increased sense of reality that the outdoor has in these new works. The marriage of the outside and the inside is now made up of more equal partners.

In 2017 I was invited by Ellyn Toscano to make photographic works at the Villa. This wonderful villa turned out to be a perfect place in which to use my Camera Obscura technique because of how its interior architecture and art visually play with the Villa’s views of its surrounding outdoor garden landscape. In some ways they are a mirror image of each other.

It’s so exciting to see how a work of art can mingle with things happening outside to create a brand new visual creation. It’s a world where photography, architecture and painting complete each other in perfect counterpoint.

– Abelardo Morell

Photographs from the Inauguration

The exhibition will be visible through September 14, 2018

Featured Biographies

Abelardo Morell


Abelardo Morell was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1962.  Morell received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his MFA from The Yale University School of Art. He has received an honorary degree from Bowdoin College in 1997 and from Lesley University in 2014. His publications include a photographic illustration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1998) by Dutton Children’s Books, A Camera in a Room (1995) by Smithsonian Press, A Book of Books (2002) and Camera Obscura (2004) by Bulfinch Press and Abelardo Morell (2005), published by Phaidon Press. The Universe Next Door (2013), published by The Art Institute of Chicago.  Tent-Camera (2018), published by Nazraeli Press.  His most recent body of work Flowers for Lisa will be published by Abrams in October 2018. He has received a number of awards and grants, which include a Guggenheim fellowship in 1994 and an Infinity Award in Art from ICP in 2011. In November 2017, he received a Lucie Award for achievement in fine art. His work has been collected and shown in many galleries, institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum and over seventy other museums in the United States and abroad. A retrospective of his work organized jointly by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty in Los Angeles and The High Museum in Atlanta closed in May 2014 after a year of travel. This November, he will have a show of his work Flowers for Lisa on display at Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York City.