Liminal Camera in ROC

When I walked into class this morning I was confronted with the large negatives and black and white photographs you see above and I knew that the camera had arrived!

Earlier this afternoon, before heading to Brockport, I took a ride around the city in the Liminal Camera – a project of Metabolic Studio led by artist Lauren Bon. I was first introduced to Bon’s work the spring of 2009 with the Not A Cornfield project via the PLANT room (now the Re:PLANT room) at Rochester Contemporary Art Center and the exhibition Not A Cornfield at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

The Liminal Camera can produce a photograph with-in hours of having taken it. It captures an image without drawing attention to itself as most cameras and camera equipment do.

The camera body is a shipping container which makes it hard to recognize as an image-making machine. Its size means that camera operators are able to be inside the camera. From the operators’ vantage point the subject appears upside down. The Liminal Camera is both an image capturing tool and perceptual tool.

Metabolic Studio offered us VSW students a free workshop on the camera – picked us from VSW and everything! Our final destination was the former First National Bank of Rochester (35 State St.) where the final prints were on display for an event later tonight (which I was unable to attend). The ride from VSW to the former bank was my favorite part! It was such an AWESOME experience to watch the city move past upside down right in front of me. So bizarre. The moment I spun around in the light-tight darkroom door and entered the back of the camera I instantly smelled the fixer and had a flashback to high school photography and the hours I used to spend in the darkroom. See, the Liminal Camera also served as the darkroom to make the prints. Fun!

Once we parked at our destination we then prepped to take a photograph! As a class, we worked together to first make a test-strip. I got to wear a red “safe” light on my head and set the timer for exposure. This is actually where I had to leave the party as I had another one to attend. I do know, from classmates, that they successfully made a negative and print. The print will be staying with us at Visual Studies Workshop. Score!

I uploaded a couple of unedited video clips to my flickr so you can get a sense of what it was like riding in the back of the truck/camera. The first one was when we were still at VSW and the second one was when we were further downtown. I was impressed how sharp the image was and how GOOD it made Rochester, NY look! I have several more clips and when I have the time (ha!) I will be properly editing them into a video of my experience.

Author: Megan Charland

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