Like many before me, I found inspiration for my art while hiking the beautiful Mount Monadnock on a sunny, summer, NH day. However, very unlike Emerson or Thoreau, my insight came not from the stunning natural beauty around me but from what is normally a rather unhappy accident. A fall on a particularly unforgiving rock, crushing my camera lens, left me a bit frustrated but once I brushed myself off I soon indulged my curiosity: "what exactly is inside a camera lens?" My newly destroyed camera was the opportunity and the impetus to find out. It turns out there are more beautiful parts than I could have imagined. As time progressed, I found myself eager to disassemble any camera I could get my hands on, exploring the differences in the inner workings of various brands, types, and eras of cameras. Over the course of about two years, what began with a painful fall and the annoying destruction of my camera lens has evolved into a deeply fulfilling project, allowing me to express myself through my designs, practice my art, and indulge my curiosity, destroying with abandon all the cameras I please.
DESIGN AND CRAFT
The creative process begins with cameras. Each make, year, and type will yield a wealth of pieces, surprisingly unique considering the function of each camera is mostly the same. This immense variety offers countless aesthetic options for me to explore.
Below you will find galleries detailing the disassembly process, showing the cameras in various states and ending with images of some individual pieces from the camera. Harvesting pieces can be taxing, trying to separate small parts without damaging them (goggles are required!), but it is always an exciting step in my creative process as I discover the raw materials I will work with.
Once the camera has been fully disassembled I am left with an enormous and sometimes overwhelming pile of parts. As I sift through, I consider each piece individually and begin thinking creatively about the piece's aesthetic potential, sorting by size, shape, color, and material, but also by artistic implications. This helps to organize and simplify the design and craft stages of the process.
Sometimes my designs come from an inner creative process, drawn onto a blank piece of paper; sometimes they come from sitting, looking through container after container of parts. More often than not, the process is an organic one, drawing equally from the pieces themselves and from my own creative impulse. The work I am most happy with in the end is work that finds a middle ground between the raw material's inherent qualities and my desire as an artist to temper that material into an object of beauty.
I craft every aspect of each piece from scratch and by hand. Once I have a working design I start hammering, wrapping, soldering, and polishing, giving shape and form to the raw materials. I have learned that it is important to work with the material, acknowledging the subtleties and idiosyncrasies of the elements I am crafting. This creates a flexibility in my approach, allowing for subtle design adjustments as demanded by the pieces themselves.
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While it is always difficult to decide when a piece is finished (there is always some little detail to polish or to tweak!), wearing, enjoying, and sharing my final pieces is one of my favorite parts of the process. Of course, as soon as I have finished a piece, I am on to the next and always developing new designs and finding new cameras to explore. See the Gallery for more examples of my finished work.