Wayne Martin Belger builds pinhole cameras – this much can be said with certainty. The rest becomes as rain-blurred and effervescent as the images his unique apparatuses produce. Pinhole cameras are still popular among hobbyists and are occasionally hailed as the purest photographic tool. With no lenses between the tool and the subject, the scene, the light and the depth of field are captured in smoky stills – as if snapped by the mind’s eye. Experiencing these images for the first time is more like viewing impressions, memories.
As you can see above, WMB’s cameras are beyond mere tools, more than means to an end. While many artists long for the process more than the product, Belger has redefined process-love completely. His projects sometimes plant their seeds through the items he collects, other times through ideas, upon the birth of which collecting begins. The camera he used to photograph AIDS victims is built with a vial of AIDS-infected blood, the one with which he captured the secret life of deer is crowned with antlers, expectant mothers were shot with a camera within which an infant’s heart sits still. He’s used bees, human skulls, religious relics, and more. Each device built by Belger contains its sacred object, each otherworldly photo series is just part of a ritual and carries with it the spirit of the camera, the concept, the execution itself.
Belger and his exquisite cameras can be seen next at Device Gallery on September 13, at a special reception from 6 to 9 pm.