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October 01, 2014 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-01

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U 0

8B Wednesday October1 2014 The Statement
THE VISUAL STATEMENT: SHOT FROM THE HEAD

he student was sitting on a bench beside North Quad Resi-
dence Hall. As I approached, standing over her to make a
photograph, she abruptly rose, leaving her books and purse
behind her, and ran off. Later she would claim that she thought the
pinhole camera I wore, tied to my skull by twine, was a bomb. This
was the early stage of testing outa new kind of camera I have now
completed: one that you don't use with your hands, and one that
is anything but discreet, a "jaw-operated pinhole camera." With
the device functioning, I packed up and headed to New York City,
where I had a month long class - and where I planned on experi-
menting with a rather obtrusive type of street photography.
Based on the reactions I got on the street after testing the new
pinhole camera inAnn Arbor, I was apprehensive about using it in
New York City - a place where, as one of my advisors pointed out,
was once "literally under attack." However, as I began affixing the
handmade pinhole camera (a matchbox body with an aluminum
can aperture) to my head, I realized that ina city as avant-garde as
New York, literally no one gave a damn about what I was wearing
on my head. In fact, I ended up moving more stealthily asa street
photographer because it seemed when I put the device on, I looked
strange enough to fall into the "don't look at him even once; he is
crazy" category. You see, in New York, the unusual are ignored;
people are too busy to honor their presence unless they can create
"something" out of them.
In this case, I made something out of the normal: people in tran-
sit, signs, people on cell phones. Most did not even notice me, eras-
ing off-putting images from their minds.
BY NICHOLAS WILLIAMS

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