What is it?
Tom Bamberger (b. Milwaukee 1948)
Inkjet pigment print face-mounted on Plexiglas
45 3/16 x 236 3/4 in.
Gifted 2017, The Art Ball Fund
About the Work
Tom Bamberger took Pete’s World in a friend’s Wisconsin backyard during the height of summer. The twenty-two-foot-long photograph features lush green vines, trellises, a bistro chair, and a swing. Midway through the photograph the sky darkens for a brief shower, casting the right half into shadow and leaving behind traces of not only changes in time but also atmosphere. Rain droplets are visible on leaves in the right side of the composition. Bamberger altered branches and leaves throughout and erased an unsightly pole and other excrescences to create an idealized backyard.
It is thanks to his robotic GigaPan camera that Bamberger was able to capture thirty-five minutes of a summer afternoon. The camera was collaboratively developed by Carnegie Mellon University and NASA to take extremely high-definition, panoramic photographs of the surface of Mars. The GigaPan digitally divides a landscape into a grid and creates a composite of hundreds or even thousands of photographs recorded successively over time.
Bamberger’s erasures and alterations endow Pete’s World with a sort of universality: it is both here and nowhere. Since habit has trained us to see a photograph as a moment wrested from the flow of time, Bamberger’s GigaPan work requires an adjustment in outlook to be fully appreciated. Viewing Pete’s World is almost a mystical experience: an impossible moment containing duration.