The series Exposure (2020-2021) begins with two familiar experiences: noticing sunlight on a wall and staring, against all better judgment, straight into the sun.
The series expands upon Asselin’s past practice of seeking out the social meaning of built environments and revealing how spaces absorb traces of their occupants’ lives over time. With Exposure, however, she turns the lens on her own environment. Using natural light as technique and subject, the first set of images depicts Asselin’s Los Angeles home, as well as a house in the southern California desert in which she’s spent significant time—looking at walls, isolating details, considering the past. In these interior photographs, Asselin uses sunlight as a guide, imaging only where it falls and capturing the dramatic moment when direct sunbeams breach windows and doorways.
The series moved outdoors when wildfires erupted nearby. Thick, smoke-filled air blocked any sense of an expansive sky, so that being outside felt uncannily like being inside. Asselin’s mechanical version of staring into the sun produced imagery both real and unreal. As the sky ranged day by day in color and density, so did the camera’s interpretation.
By juxtaposing these two forms of sunlight, Asselin considers our changing relationship to the natural world.