The following are from a Ultronic Panoramic point & shoot, which you may have seen littering the shelves of your local Value Village, priced to sell.
And this is from a Kodak Kodex No.1. The functionality of this particular camera was questionable since it came from a barely functioning flea market from The Middle of Nowhere, BC.
It works! And these are from the tried and truly unreliable Holga.
I have a theory about photography, and how it affects me.
In principal, the point of photography is to take the picture you want to take. One can adjust nearly everything to do with the final product to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve: aperture, shutter speed, exposure etc. The possibilities are positively endless! But, this isn’t what I want to rattle your brain about. What I find most interesting about these three cameras is how they remove this technical process completely. Rather, they don’t even give you the option. Now I’ve always been a simple girl; I like my coffee black and I like my oatmeal plain. How else are you to taste the oats with all that milk and sugar? Flax seeds, fruit, maple syrup? Vega?! All things good, indeed! But necessary? Not all the time …
Bare-bones lens and shutter oatmeal is what I want to tell you about. Maybe the universe will throw in a few stray husks and some tiny pebbles to chew on, just to keep you on your toes. Look at the third picture in the series of 5 above (Ultronic Panoramic). That is a photo of my adorable niece and what seems to be methodically placed white cotton, all the while being completely random and pointless. My guess is it was some light leakage onto the film at any point between shooting and developing. This, my friends, would be a pebble; a flaw in your otherwise perfect bowl of hot oatmeal. And perhaps, just what you needed to throw your jaw open in shock and revelation: Ouch! That looks kinda cool!
In this way, it is not I who orchestrates the art, but my cameras ( ... or my uneducated techniques). I let the camera make the art, I just push the button. The white messes, that come from light leakages and the washed out colour like the beach scene in the photo from the Kodak above, add an ethereal touch to a man-made form of art. This, I love.
The idea of lack of control thrives in me. I believe something greater is controlling my body while all I really have are my thoughts. In this example, I didn’t put that white mess there, but I think it’s awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing. On the other hand if I were to try to put something like that as an “abstract artistic addition”, I would have no idea where to put it, why I would put it there, or what it meant. Because it’s simply there, thanklessly placed with no human thought, it doesn’t have meaning. But it’s still art.
Is it an inferior art? Superior?
Who is the artist, then? Me? Or my cameras?