Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák
Camera Obscura / Photogram
photogram series exposed in pinhole cameras, 1994-97

To understand the broader context of this work, please read my essay on Works Concerning Images of Light.


PROMENADE – STUDIES FOR THE INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION I/1, c-print, 70x100 cm, 1998

In 1994, I made Camera Obscura / Photogram, a series resulting from my experiments with a pinhole camera. This work, however, is often referred to as one pushing the limits of the medium of photogram. The shadow of the light-sensitive material cast on itself, i.e., its photogram, appeared already in my 1991 works with films squeezed into the camera. When making this series, I placed mass-produced, i.e., identical, objects on the film in the pinhole camera, and in front of the objective, simultaneously. Thus, the photogram (the shadow) of the object appeared simultaneously along with its image. This means that the light used for making the photogram is the photograph of the object itself (and obviously, of its environment). As I used transparent glass or plastic objects, their reflection of light lead to a highly complex imaging. Furthermore, a photogram rendered positive resulted in an unusual experience in the eyes of many viewers. This is why I consider the series, and not so much the individual images, as an artwork, since in this way they “explain one another”. Not only do they provide aesthetic pleasure, but as a group they render comprehensible the imaging process all together. From the negatives exposed in 1994, I created the final series of Camera Obscura / Photogram in 1997, comprised of five C-prints, 100 x 70 cm each.


CAMERA OBSCURA / PHOTOGRAM: LIGHTBULB 2, 1994,
c-print from the scanned 12x9 cm sheet film, 100x70 cm, 1997

CAMERA OBSCURA / PHOTOGRAM: TICTAC 2, 1994,
c-print from the scanned 12x9 cm sheet film, 100x70 cm, 1997