Site Specific Cameras - 2012-present. With Adam Donnelly.
Cameras built in situ, out of material from the landscape they are used to photograph .
Photos - The size of the camera and the lack of any barriers to the focal plane allow us to use really any light sensitive media. We use 4X5 color and B/W film, instant film, all sizes of paper negatives, and large sheets of x-ray film.
Images of cameras and photos
Rayko Photo Center Artist in Residency - in 2014 Adam and I were residenct artists at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco Ca. We used the time to make 40"x50" mural prints of 4X5 negatives taken with various Site Specific Cameras.
Gallery Cameras - Adam and I have build cameras in galleries as well. In some cases we used material collected from inside the gallery and the surrounding neighborhood.
Statement - We photograph the landscape with cameras built on site from materials taken from the surrounding environment. Rocks, wood, grass, leaf litter, seaweed, sand and mud are often used to create the camera body. And a leaf, shell, bone, rock, or piece of wood, all with preexisting holes, have been used for lenses. The camera is constructed at the location of the found aperture and the rest of the building materials are collected within walking distance from this point. Any adational tools that might be required, a hammer to pound sticks into the ground for roof support, a lever to break a stick, or a shovel to dig out the camera body, must be made on site as well. Our exclusive use of raw materials and found apertures is driven by our desire to explore the very beginnings of photography. From the first discovery of image projection by a hole in the writing of Mozi and Aristotle to the first camera build by Nicéphore Niépce. The project also highlights a changing definition or relative nature of raw materials, this is most evident at our beach cameras where we use anything that has washed up on the beach, our latest beach camera used a washed up half surf board as building material for the roof.
The apertures we find are rarely circular. As a result they produce unfocusable images that are vignetted. We are also able to use the basic pinhole-style construction to explore endless variations of focal plane orientation, and light sensitive media such as silver gelatin paper, x-ray film, 4”x5” negative film, and instant film. The camera we end up constructing depends on the the landscape, and must fulfill three requirements: it has to be big enough for one of us to fit inside in order to set up and expose film, long enough to encompass the focal length of the found lens and it has to be light tight. In this way the needs of our bodies and the limits of the landscape, via the lens, converge to determine the shape and size of the camera and the character of the image we capture.
So far, we have built twenty-three cameras in and around the San Francisco Bay Area in many of its different landscapes: redwood forest, oak woodlands, rocky and sandy beaches and grasslands. All of these places, as is so common in Northwest California, have abundant raw materials. And with each new camera we continue to learn about the complex and symbiotic relationship between the land and its potential to be transformed in such a way. For example, the best place to build a camera at the beach is next to a stream mouth. The stream delivers an abundance of drift wood, which accumulates on the beach and is needed to build the camera's frame. The decrease of stream velocity at the mouth results in the formation of sand bars. Wet sand is very useful for making the camera light tight as we use it to patch holes in the driftwood. Access to raw materials is essential to the project and the hunt for them has became part of our process.