Street Use

Home-made Camera for Ogling

Nice piece in the New York Times about a Czech photographer who worked in the 60s and 70s using homemade cameras, one of them shown here. They are a wonderful example of street use. The Times said, “he fashioned them from shoeboxes, toilet-paper rolls and plexiglass, polishing the lenses with toothpaste and cigarette ash.” The guy was a bit of a pervert. He took low-res images of pretty girls on the street, in cafes, and on buses. “His photographs may look naïve, but they’re the product of a carefully orchestrated series of missteps that begins with crude, homemade cameras. As he says in the film, “If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world.”” Still, his cameras are cool.


Posted on February 12, 2010 at 11:30 am | comments

  • mean

    It looks harder than to make free ringtones for sure :)) But I it still looks cool!
    Thanks for a post!

  • Martin E

    I think this story could belong in The Technium, at least a story about Mirsolav Tichy.

    His images are stunning. The first time I saw them they just knocked me out. I think I saw the exhibition at least three times before it left Stockholm.

    The thing that’s so special about the photos, and that includes post processing like framing and retouching, is that there are so many errors. So many rules obviously broken.

    If you have studied photography (or as Miroslav painting) and have some idéa about light, framing, composition etc you will see that he breaks the rules everywhere all the time. The camera is no special case, but still, the images are amazing. This is important.

    This brings me to why I think this has something to do with The Technium: we often think of technology as something constantly improving or progressing but we disregard the fact that together with techology we have the social norms and rules about the use of technology.

    Mirsolav isn’t just using a really bad camera. It’s more like he’s having a perfect understanding about Ansel Adams work and all other major “progress” in the field of photography for the last one hundred years plus, and he’s willingly breaking it. All we learned and codified as elements of good photography. Rule of thirds? Nah.

    I think Miroslav knows that technology *is*, which is in contrast to our cultural understanding of how technology should be used. The field of photography is probably a good target because of it’s preoccupation with megapixels and postprocessing technology.

    In The Technium the question is what technology wants. I think the photos of Mirsolav raises the question if technology itself can be labled as good or bad, beacuse if the source of the labling comes from our cultural understanding of how technology ought to be used, then whether technology wants something good or bad is dependent on our social rules.

    I hope that made sense.