Motiongraph #08 (South View from Brooklyn Bridge), Manhattan, New York, 03:45pm, November 28, 2015
on reverse: an introduction to the Obscurabus project and an interview with Maciej Markovicz by Romke Hoogwaerts (excerpt below)
27" x 19" (inches) print on poster paper.
Maciej Markovicz is a photographer as well as an ingenious designer and woodworker, crafting clever furniture designs and even a variety of camera obscuras, like the Obscurabus, which created the photograph featured on this poster. Below is his introduction to the project, along with a snippet from our subsequent conversation.
Since the birth of photography, we have been able to preserve moments that may otherwise disappear forever. The camera has allowed us to record and understand the fluid nature of time and reflect on it. In today’s world, our sense of time and temporal experience has been transformed by a constant urge for change, new content, immediacy, and speed.
The Moving Camera Project examines the everyday dynamics of modern life in the city and aims to challenge our perception of time and the urban landscape.
The mechanism is a van-turned-giant-camera on wheels, which I use to drive through the city, following its motion and rhythm. Inside the darkened body of the vehicle, the moving image of the outside world is projected upside down on the wall opposing the lens, which is mounted on the van’s side. I open and close the shutter exposing light onto large-scale sheets of photographic paper, creating direct color negative photographs.
Even before the invention of the digital sensor, the photo negative was made in the shadows, a private master from which the public photographic print was made. The almost forgotten negative is brought to life in this series of surreal photographs.
Having a camera on wheels allows a different approach towards image-making. I am inside the moving camera absorbing the outside world. I am partly invisible, watching life through a “viewfinder” – the passenger window. I move around the city, becoming part of the spectacle, rather intuitively following the available light and mood of the given day. I do not hunt for anything specific, nor do I follow a planned route.
The photographs usually avoid the architecture and figures that we are accustomed to seeing in a cityscape; instead, they evoke a certain animated energy that can often be felt. These color paper negatives represent abstracted experience of place; they bend the fabric of time by absorbing image after image, moment after moment, and transform it all into a single photograph.
RFP I’ve experienced a few camera obscuras now, I actually had a fascination with them in my teenage years. Yours has been the only moving camera obscura I’ve been in, and, well, I certainly was moved by it. What kind of camera obscuras did you experience before you pursued this project?
MM My adventure with camera obscura started in London in 2007, soon after I began my BA in Photography at LCC. I quickly set up my darkroom in a spare room in the Brixton house where I was living in at the time. One day I just came back home and cut out the opening in the plastic bag that I used to black out the room and there it was. Later I turned containers and other rooms into walk-in camera obscura installations in London and Rouen, France. I fell in love with the powerful simplicity of this primal photographic device. Since then I have been constantly thinking and searching for a personal version of a camera obscura that I could utilize in my practice. Everything came together in NYC; I found this rusted VW bus in 2012 which took me three years to restore. The moment the bus become roadworthy, I converted it into a giant camera on wheels; it felt like a very natural thing to do. I continue to be moved by the city’s restlessness. There is so much complexity and energy expended each and every day that seeing the sunrise touch the skyline in the morning is a miracle.