Symbolic Camera

DSC_0053The first assignment we were assigned for this module was to create a symbolic camera. This camera was meant to be a symbol of a real camera, and therefore could be made in any shape or form and from whatever materials we desired to use. Our starting pistol took form in looking at cameras made by previous students from years ago. The prospect of contributing to this archive  was enough motivation to make something amazing.

The following days were filled with torment. Indecisiveness caught me off guard and had me worried for days on end. When will I make the camera?, How would I go about such engineering and architecture? What would I make the camera out of? What camera model would I be working from? What story would my camera be telling? So many questions!!! All of which brought a lot of direction to mind. However it felt more like a road packed with traffic from all corners of a road. So I made a point to sit down and make sense of it all.


My first port of call was the  first camera I vividly remember holding. I was 16 years old at the time and this camera belonged to my Mother. I can’t remember the model but it was a small silver box that became my companion at all memorable events. The colour of the camera body almost blended in with the flash and this relationship with light fed into my inspiration. I drew even more inspiration from my current camera, which is a Nikon D3300. The size of my camera plays an important role in distancing my face from that which is being photographed. This allows me to almost disappear from sight and let all attention be placed on the object of photography/film.

Keeping these things in mind I went ahead with a design for my symbolic camera. I choose an old amazon box, foil, some clear plastic and plain white paper to be my equipment for this project. The white background of the camera was chosen to draw attention away from the camera itself. The significance of a camera is in the lens and thus the photograph that is being taken. Therefore the too much attention should not be drawn to the camera. The foil covering the inside of the camera acts as a reflector of the light feeding in from the camera lens and the viewfinder. As it is a symbolic camera it cannot take real pictures. However I thought it would be significant to the task to ensure the camera could perform at least one function.DSC_0052

You cannot quite see clearly through the viewfinder to the outer lens, but the light passes through and is reflected in the camera. This assignment led me to draw more thought on the amount of intelligence that goes into creating a functioning camera. More so I found myself thinking about the skill that goes into handling such  an instrument. It was at the point I first found myself marvelling at what equipment I would be graced with for this project.


One thought on “Symbolic Camera

  1. Pingback: Exercising Film – anthropologyisthecoolesthingever

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