Who ever heard of photographs being taken with a camera made from a toy machine gun? How about from coffee beans? Or from a pumpkin? Or from any of a multitude of other unusual objects not normally associated with the art of photography?
As part of its “Hackney Library Celebrates Academic Achivement” series, the library will soon be hosting a new exhibit in its art gallery area called “Camera as Artifice,” composed of student and faculty art produced by such off-beat cameras. Just prior to final exams in December, photographs from the following Art Student League members and members of the advanced photography class, as well as from associate art professor Gerard Lange, will be mounted for display in the exhibit along with the unusual cameras used to create their art:
- Anna Blackwelder – an African mask camera
- Leslie Briley – a toy machine gun camera
- Brandon Cook – a coffee bean camera
- Brianna Frazier – an antique door knob camera
- Kaitlyn Kosuda – a computer part camera
- Daniel O’Neill – a pumpkin camera
- Greg Oakley – a cardboard camera with three lenses
- Gerard Lange, associate art professor – a deconstructed DSLR camera
Gerard Lange, who in addition to teaching the advanced photography class also serves as advisor to the Student Art League, explains the idea behind the “Camera as Artifice” project:
Cameras naturally carry the dual perception of being both a device to capture images of the world and a tool to aid an artist in achieving his or her vision of the world. In the first example, novices rely on presets of the device to make the photograph happen. In the latter, trained photographers first conceptualize the image they wish to create and then manipulate the device to achieve that vision. However, when a trained professional throws off his or her learned skill and embraces the device for its own merit, the camera takes on a third state of being, becoming something more of a medium. With this perception of the camera, the device itself becomes the way in which an artist sees the world. It may still have controls that can be changed, but the denial of control allows the photographer to embrace the camera’s eye.
With this collection of work, Barton photography students have gone further, creating cameras that align with their vision of the subject. For this project, cameras have been deconstructed and rebuilt to match that vision, or they have been built entirely from scratch. Through this act, the device now has but one purpose: to interpret the subject through a modified gaze. Therefore the camera is no longer a static device, nor a tool, it is now an artifice for the synthesis of both optical vision and the creative one.
Barton students, faculty, and staff who view the art will be able to test their own interpretations of the photographs by attempting to identify which photo was produced by which camera in a contest being held on Reading Day, Thursday, December 6, from 8 am to midnight. The contest will kick off Hackney Library’s ‘Study ‘Round the Clock’ period held each semester during final exams (more about that in a later blog post).
“Camera as Artifice” Contest entry forms will be available at the circulation desk on Reading Day; return completed entries to the circulation desk by midnight that night (only one entry per person, please). The winner who records the greatest number of correct photo/camera matches will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Barton College Campus Bookstore. Runner-up prizes will be available as well. Participants need not be present to win, and the winner(s) will be announced on Friday, December 7.
But whether you enter the contest or not, be sure to come by and marvel at these unique cameras built by our own student/faculty colleagues and the art that they have produced using them.