Hand-made cameras fascinate me. Richard Learoyd has made an obscura that is amazingly interesting. His camera makes prints of 50×70 inches of fleeting salience that have no source other than the moement in which they were captured. No negatives, no digital file, no copies.
Learoyd questions whether the invention of duplicative processing of imagery allows photographs to retain value (integrity) and I tend to agree: the individuality of an image is partially in it’s inability to be reproduced. Giving over to that acceptance of reality is something few people are brave enough to do.
For my work, even family or senior folios, I don’t take 6 frames of the same or a similar shot. I can’t bring myself to do something that isn’t going to feel unique. It’s bad enough, to me, that I have two cards in my camera recording the same thing and that I have 36 images of the same set. I need and crave the connection to each singular moment, in its unique form, but I don’t necessarily feel like I need to possess them. Holding my strong convictions loosely is a basic way of illustrating this – but I think Learoyd’s camera does a better real-time job of showing what it means to do so.
His work is hanging in the Getty Center 8/30 – 11/27 this year. I encourage you to view him speaking on his process below.