Wanye Martin Belger is a truly creative, self taught and passionate artist who creates and solely builds the most unthinkable cameras. These cameras go far beyond the ‘normality’ of how we take photographs, it shows you that you can make cameras really connect with your subject, on a level that no one has done before.
Belger was born in 1964 in California to two very understanding Catholic parents. ‘I remember the days when mass was done in Latin. Magic language, magic practices, and magic altars with their own ritualistic traditions are intriguing at 5 years old. Not knowing Latin, I relied more on visuals to receive the communication. The priest was using beautiful sacred tools and potions that were subject-created to bring me into communion with the subject. As the Priest has made his tools of gold and silver and Blood and Body to be in direct relationship with the subject Jesus, I create my tools of Aluminum and Titanium and Blood and Body to be in direct relationship with the subjects they are created for.’
The cameras he creates with these unconventional accessories are pinholes, as he believes with ‘pinhole photography, the same air that touches my subject can pass through the pinhole and touch the photo emulsion on the film. There’s no barrier between the two. There are no lenses changing and manipulating light. There are no chips converting light to binary code. With pinhole what you get is an unmanipulated true representation of a segment of light and time, a pure reflection of what is at that moment. With some exposure times getting close to 2 hours, it’s an unsegmented movie from a movie camera with only one frame.’
‘The creation of a camera comes from my desire to relate to a subject. When I choose a subject I spend time studying it. Then I start visualizing how I would like a photo of the subject to look. When that’s figured out, I start on the camera stage of the project by collecting parts, artifacts and relics that relate to the subject.When I’ve gathered enough parts and feel for the subject, I start the construction of the camera. I create the cameras from Aluminum, Titanium, Copper, Brass, Bronze, Steel, Silver, Gold, Wood, Acrylic, Glass, Horn, Ivory, Bone, Human Bone, Human Skulls, Human Organs, Formaldehyde, HIV+ Blood and relics all designed to be the sacred bridge of a communion offering between myself and the subject. All to witness and be a tool of the horrors of creation and the beauty of decay presented by the author light and time.’
The one camera that stands out the most for me out of his collection is the heart camera, due to the fact that it was designed to take photos of soon to be mothers who are at least 8 months pregnant (shown below) and to explore the relationship with his twin brother who unfortunately died at birth. Below are a display of a few of his cameras with the images he has taken on them. Also a short clip of Belger himself, explaining his ideas and how he came about making these extraordinary cameras.