The One Hour Photo concept was created by a group of Washington-based artists to exhibit photographic works for only one hour each for the duration of a photography show, and then ensure that it will never be seen again. The participating artists are required to sign release forms, pledging never again to reproduce, display or sell the work they have included in the One Hour exhibition.
The creators of the One Hour Photo explain the theme behind their concept.
In One Hour Photo, photography’s original impulse to capture a moment, to freeze and frame it, is turned outward, to the experience of viewing itself. The hour is the exposure, the moment that is captured in the frame of a temporary, provisional observation. Each work ceases to be a photograph: it erases its medium, its status as art object, as it becomes a pure moment of perception to be experienced, framed, and captured by the viewer. In this sense, the viewer becomes the camera, recording the moment on the unreliable format of memory. The viewer also becomes photography itself, as it feels its familiar constructs slip away: permanence, reproduction, ownership, control.
Ultimately, we hope that the show both reflects and problematizes our experience of the present conditions, which are marked both by dizzying increase (more, faster, and smaller bits of information swarming by in constant streams) and also by seemingly irreparable loss (of time and attention, of community, of the natural world).
The American University Museum, Washington will hold the One Hour Photo exhibition from May 8 to June 6, 2010.