How to make a pearl No.19, 2000

Hong Kong 2016
Vanguard Gallery
Gelatin Silver Print on Canvas
218.0 x 115.0 x 5.0 (cm)
85.8 x 45.3 x 2.0 (inch)
Inserting a glass marble into her camera, Onodera photographed groups of people on the street during the day. The marble disperses the light, creating shadows in the photographs and creating scenes in which an eerie white sphere seems to be floating above people gathered in the darkness. Through the glass marble, which transforms an actual street scene into a mysterious illusion, we are made aware of the “black box”—that camera—that intercedes between the photographer and the subjects. The title refers, of course, to the way a pearl is formed when a foreign object enters a mollusk’s shell. The enlarged grain of the photos, created chemically during the development process, becomes the material of these giant, two-meter photographs, powerfully lifting the people out of the surrounding darkness in sharp relief.