Ajeuro Abala is an Ottawa-born, Toronto-based photographer currently completing his BFA at Ryerson University. His practice contemplates built and naturalistic environments considering the implications of human presence within them. Informed by interests in architecture and design, Abala examines how we affect these environments and how they in turn affect us. The concept of “process” and the influence of error in one’s practice have been recent sources of inspiration for him.
Our society breeds a desire for perfection, and the development of the camera is no exception. It is designed to freeze time exactly as one sees it. Features such as adjustable apertures and shutter speeds further illustrate this pursuit. But what can be said about perfection’s opposite? How does our understanding of an image shift when it is altered or affected by external factors? In order to address these concerns, the phenomena of dust will act as a catalyst in our approach to these dynamics, weaving together notions of the broken and imperfect with its physical characteristics. Discussing works from the exhibition A Handful of Dust: From the Cosmic to the Domestic, this paper will examine photography’s relationship to imperfection. In this vein, a number of key questions will be answered: Must we immediately dismiss an error as an incomplete endeavour or can it be cultivated? What does the intrigue of the mistake represent? And is there potential in accepting imperfection not only as a means to an end, but as an end in itself?