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.
This image was taken in Sheffield as research for a project inspired by the architecture there. The roll of film accidentally went through the wash before it was developed, so all of the colours aren’t accurate and there are marks on the picture.
I like to experiment and take a few risks, where the outcome is not certain. All these images were made unintentionally. The top two occurred due to using the wrong camera settings for the situation. In the lower image I used the settings the camera was already on, pointed down into the weedy water and this was the result.
Paul Michael Browne
This picture was taken at my local pub in the area I grew up, just before it closed down. The pub had a negative reputation and was one my group of friends and I avoided, heading instead to the more culturally diverse, open-minded and hedonistic Birmingham city centre.
The pub had long been in decline, had sold off its bowling green out back to make way for flats and was under threat of gentrification for many years but somehow survived with temporary landlords and zero investment. It was during this time I developed a quiet affection for the place. Whenever I infrequently went back home I visited the pub, and would always find a chair jammed into the push bar of the emergency exit next to the Gents toilet. At first I dismissed this as rowdy behaviour, but over time found various chairs in the same position and accepted it simply as part of the dilapidated décor and unfriendly atmosphere.
I considered taking my camera on these visits to document the changing of these chairs as part of a project, which seemed almost like the changing of the guard, but the idea remained just that, until my final visit when told by the barman the pub was closing in days. All I had with me was my cheap phone with its low quality camera, but I wanted to take at least one picture for memory. Taking the picture quickly not wanting to be disturbed and unused to the settings, this is the result. What I realised when looking at the picture was that the upholstered chair was actually in surprisingly good condition, unlike the chairs throughout the pub, as if for the final few days of operation, only the
best chair for this peculiar job would do.
I haven’t edited this photo in any way.
This photography was taken on a walk through a swamp in the bush. The dark water, pale trees and bright sky are suddenly cast into three zones by the over exposure of the sun creating distinct areas and highlighting the contrasts.
These photographs were taken when I was little – so the mistakes were not intentional and purely from inexperience. I think its interesting that as a child I decided to capture my family. Growing up, kids look at family members with a sort of reverence that only seems to last during childhood. I also enjoy how these photos show a child’s perspective at eye level paired with the blurred effect, as if these were taken while running around. The blurriness also adds to the effect of a childhood memory.
From what it looks like to me, I probably kept the shutter open too long. I was using old disposable camera that could have been messed up from beginning. I’m not entirely sure what happened to cause the errors, I’m sure professional photographers could probably pinpoint what went wrong.
The photos are of my (top to bottom): dad, grandma, grandpa and mom.
The images are caused by exhaustion of the machine, or as I call it, the protest of the machine against the over usage of humans. The errors are produced when the image is being opened, closed or being uploaded into software, I just simply screenshot them and save them.
There is no such thing as an accident, the error is produced by the overload of the machine. Humans overproduce in different machines, and they are trying to survive by causing an error and getting stuck.
We see the aesthetic of the error, but do we know what do they feel? Are they in any pain at all? My intentions are more than humanizing the machine but surviving the digital-material collapse that we all live in today, the performance is different with any error arising in front of or in the middle of it.
Beyond Nostalgia is a series of Polaroid photographs that investigates the notion of nostalgia and how the intractability of obsolescence reveals itself casually and routinely through the fickle analogue medium. The error or interruption was unintended but evidence yet again of the unpredictable alchemy of light and emulsion.
Photography is a hobby, mixed media printmaking is an obsession. Digital photography
gives me an opportunity to experiment, so when when something goes wrong I mess about with it.
Top: I was trying to photograph a map, but didn’t realise the window reflected as badly as it did.
Middle: Something landed on my face as I was taking aim and I jumped
Bottom: I misjudged the camera’s ability to zoom.