Broken vision

Ryan Boultbee

My photographic errors led to the creation of my Broken Camera Project series (2014-19):
The digital camera used for this project has a faulty light sensor which gives each image unique and unpredictable characteristic. The usual control a photographer would expect is taken away by uncertainties surrounding the image focus, colour, and exposure. The resulting photographs hold random serendipitous qualities dictated by the camera’s interpretation of the scene.

As a photographer you feel as if thought the technology allows you to step into an alternate reality; you compare the image and context. The series only presents the camera’s interpretation of the world to the viewer. You are thrown into its purple-tinged landscapes with no grasp on reality; you have no idea what is real and what is an error. The images are presented unedited as captured and interpreted by the camera. Over the last five years, the cameras sensory equipment has continued to degrade. Through the collection we observe the photographs drift further and further from reality and their blurring into the incomprehensible.

The artwork draws parallels between the death of man and technology; we observe an incremental disengagement with our reality that has similarities to a decline in mental ability and a loss of sensory capacity (e.g. dementia). Unusually, the project highlights the beauty of this process. At times, the camera almost seems to snaps almost back to reality, however, most images require the scene to be lit with extreme contrast to even be registered.

My work relates to the themes of perception and impairment. It aims to challenge viewers to engage with their everyday surroundings and landscapes through a different lens. I ask viewers to reconsider what they see and encourage them to imagine the world through the eyes of others. The project has captured hundreds of photos which will, when time allows, be curated for exhibition.

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