Inspired by the city’s presence, light, and architecture, Vera Lutter began experimenting with photography. In order to capture an immediate and direct imprint of her experience, Lutter decided to turn the room in which she lived into a large pinhole camera—thereby transforming the space that contained her personal experience into the apparatus that would capture an image of it.
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Through a simple pinhole instead of an optically carved lens, the outside world flooded the interior of the room and projected an inverted image onto the opposite wall. Exposing directly onto wall–size sheets of photographic paper, the artist achieved large–scale black and white images. Maintaining her concept of directness and least possible alteration, Lutter decided to retain the negative image and refrain from multiplication or reproduction.
New York is a returning subject in Lutter’s work, and through working internationally, she employed the technique of the camera obscura, or pinhole camera, in projects around the world where she photographically rendered architecture, shipyards, airports, and abandoned factories, focusing on industrial sites that pertain to transportation and fabrication.
Vera Lutter’s work has been recognized by many periodicals including Artforum, ARTnews, Art in America, BOMB, and The New York Times; as well as books including 100 Contemporary Artists (Taschen), The Photograph as Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson), and Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography (Phaidon).
Vera Lutter was born in 1960 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She graduated in 1991 from the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and received her M.F.A. in 1995 from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Lutter’s images have been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions. “Inverted Worlds,” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2015, traveling to New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, through 2016); and “This is a Photograph,” Penland Gallery and Visitors Center, North Carolina (2016).
Lutter’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, among others.
Lutter had the honor of receiving numerous prizes and grants: among the most recent – in early 2017 – the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced an artist project and residency with her, taking place from February 2017 through March 2018 and culminating in an exhibition in fall 2018. Lutter lives and works in New York City.