Bruce Hall

photo by Chris Voelker 2011


Bruce and writer and wife, Valerie Hall, have published a book, Immersed: Our Experience with Autism, examining their twin sons’ severe autism. The book captures their experiences through words and images. 
Immersed 2009 | 22x17 color photograph | 669.17.07
  Bruce Hall's night sky was devoid of stars, a vast sheet of darkness. Hall was born with a word salad of eye conditions: nystagmus, myopia, astigmatism, amblyopia, macular degeneration and exotropia.  "I grew up hearing about stars, but I'd never seen them. When I was nine or ten, a neighbor kid down the street let me look through his telescope. We pointed it at the North Star. It was like an opening into another world." Hall saw not just stars, but possibilities. The childhood glimpse became a turning point, directing Hall into a lifelong engagement with seeing devices: cameras, lenses, magnifiers, telescopes, computer screens. 

Since then, Bruce Hall has constructed his world from photographs. When he looks into your eyes, it'll be on his forty-inch Sony high definition monitor. Most photographers see in order to photograph. Bruce Hall photographs in order to see. 

"I think all photographers take pictures in order to see, but for me it's a necessity. I can't see without optical devices, cameras. Therefore, it's become an obsession. It's beyond being in love with cameras; I need cameras." Susan Sontag called photographs objects "that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern." By this logic, Hall leads a hypermodern life, employing an ever-present camera to build his visual world one photograph at a time. 

Hall calls his device-enabled interface with the world "intensified seeing." The devices are extensions, amplifications of his body. "Without cameras, my life would be bleak. With cameras, I can see." The result is a strange form of double vision. "I always see things twice. First, I see an impression. I take what I think I see, later I can see what I saw. I have certain aims, guesses, impressions, but the photographs are always a surprise."  
copy by: Douglas McCulloh
© 2017 Inland Empire Museum of Art
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