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Displaying Atmosphere

 In an effort to go deeper with the analysis and documentation conducted during the Aydelott travels, an independent study course was undertaken. Its goal was to discover an effective method for communicating the experience. This project studied how images are displayed, and how, through their display, a new atmosphere can be conveyed and constructed. In order to better describe the spaces visited, images captured during the travel period were dissected, exploded, and illuminated. Selected images were collaged onto slides, which fit into an assembly designed to light and frame the experiences. The final form of the presentation consisted of multiple forms of media and contained a full year of research. Presentation photographs by Matthew Hall.


Displaying Atmosphere


Auburn, AL




Matthew Hall


Research  ·  Exhibition

Auburn University  ·  Directed Study


Full Text

Presentation announcement posters, distributed across campus and through social media outlets.

Displayin Atmosphere Section

Research history was explained during the first phase. The frame and three selected images were illuminated and described during the second phase.

Displaying Atmosphere Section

A slide matching each image was projected into the frame, adding a layer of contrast and illumination.


 Photography is a creative art. It requires the photographer to consider the subject, environment, framing, and the final presentation of an image. To push the impact of any photograph to its full potential, the manner in which an image is displayed has just as much bearing as the artifact itself. An image shown on a phone’s screen sparks different interpretations and associations than it would when printed and mounted. Scale, setting, illumination, and audience affect the message of an image. The production of a photograph is an increasingly impersonal operation. 


Putting time into the framing, curation, and processing of images can pose questions that imbue them with a sense of weight and purpose. How can the environment be designed to enhance the impact of the artifacts on display? Since the spaces in which photographs are shown directly impact the experience of an observer, what are some ways they can be designed to enhance that experience? If a photograph is trying to communicate the atmosphere of that place, how can its framing reinforce that message?


When the projector is activated and the lights are dimmed, the surrounding information recedes to the background.



A frame was built into which acrylic slides of the same size could be inserted.  These were suspended proud of the rear of the frame. Ultimately a method was settled upon wherein one or two slides were inserted into the frame, each composed of the selected images printed on opaque paper and in one case semi-opaque paper, mounted on transparent acrylic. The apertures in each image were cut out of the slides, illuminated from behind with LEDs. Their shadows and color were projected onto them from matching slides inserted into a projector located twelve feet away. Once the frame was mounted to the wall, a dimmer was soldered on to the LEDs so that the lighting for each aperture could be controlled individually. 

Displaying Atmosphere Frame
Glowing abstractions of the original photographs, which generate an atmosphere similar to but independent of the source building.