Mary K Goodwin

Mary K Goodwin

Work from Auto Obscura.

“Auto Obscura describes the mixing of the exterior and interior that occurs behind the wheel of a car. It’s a phenomenon that is solitary, isolated, and artificial, and yet also oddly real and beautiful. In Auto Obscura, I turn my 1995 Ford Contour into a camera obscura and photograph the urban and natural landscape within the confines of the car.

When I began Auto Obscura, I used it as a way to map out my new world in Albuquerque. Relocating from Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2004 was a huge shift both environmentally and socially; the unique properties of the camera obscura helped ground me in my new surroundings, while also speaking to a sense of disorientation and dislocation.

The more I worked with this camera obscura, the more I felt the strangeness of experiencing the world through the filter of the car windows. This very American way of moving through the landscape fosters a sense of interaction with the world that is, in reality, compartmentalized and passive. While the windows give the sensation of letting the world inside the car, they in fact act as the translucent walls of a movable theater. The interior of the car becomes a site for introspection, memory, and feeling; the car is also a space where life is actually lived in the time driving from place to place. Incredible dramas, both mental and physical, occur in this tiny, movable stage.” – Mary K Goodwin

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