This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.
Wayne Martin Belger, Tucson, AZ
Wayne Martin Belger melds his two art practices, sculpture and photography, to create unconventional cameras firmly rooted in the macabre. He uses a pinhole, the simplest of camera machinery, with the complex materials of human bone, metal, and jewels. Belger titles each camera, considering it its own art piece. In doing so he shows that the cameras are as crucial to his work as the resulting photographs.
The Third Eye is a pinhole camera made from the skull of a 13-year-old girl. The skull is 150 years old and was once a part of a medical student’s study kit. Over time, the skull found its way into Belger’s possession where it was modified into a pinhole camera. The pinhole is drilled into the forehead and the resulting photographs have a dreamlike quality to them that reference the spirituality of seeing with a “third eye.”
His other skull camera, entitled Yama, has two pinholes in both eyes that create a stereograph effect. Elaborately encrusted with jewels, Belger uses it to photograph the refugee cities in India and modern incarnations of Southeast Asian deities. In the act of making the photograph, Belger sees the image both through his own eyes, and the “eyes” of the person the skull belonged to.