WHAT IS THE PENDULUM PROJECT?
The idea for this series of photographs first came to me in the fall of 1967 when, as a senior in high school, I had my first physics course. The “double pendulum” is a common textbook exercise that is familiar to any student of physics, but I saw it as an artistic tool. I proceeded to make a number of simple time exposure photographs, looking up at a small neon bulb attached to a double pendulum. These attempts were quite crude, but they demonstrated the concept, and served as inspiration for my thoughts. One of these early prints hangs on the wall of my studio.
The current series of photographs has been in the planning and construction stage for about the past 5 years. The idea is the same as my 1967 work, but the technique is much more refined. I have converted my barn into a photography studio, and have constructed and installed a 3-meter double pendulum. The pendulum consists of a 40-pound piece of steel I bought on e-bay, suspended by a steel cable. The neon bulb has been replaced with an LED, and the camera is a large-format 4 x 5 inch sheet film camera. Working at night in total darkness, the camera looks straight up, and is focused on the LED. The pendulum is then placed in motion, and a time exposure is made as the LED traces out the pendulum’s path. Depending on the way the pendulum is suspended, and on the particular path it is started in, the LED “paints” a unique image.
Paul Wainwright is a photographer who works in a traditional manner utilizing sheet film, a large-format camera, and silver gelatin printing. Working with traditional photographic media, he achieves in his prints a sense of quiet contemplation that comes from the slow, Zen-like pace of creating his images.
Wainwright's work has appeared in numerous juried competitions and solo exhibitions, most recently at the Baldwin Gallery at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Panopticon Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, the Mugar Art Gallery at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont.
Wainwright’s work is included in the permanent collections of both private and corporate collectors, including the Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham, New Hampshire. Wainwright’s first published photography book, A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England, was released in early 2010.