Assignment 1 – 151mc – Cameraless Photography

Is that not an oxymoron? Photography without a camera , is it a contradiction? Perhaps not. Most people would think of photography as being the art of using a camera to create a photograph. The Oxford English dictionary describes a photograph as a picture made using a camera, in which an image is focused on to light-sensitive material and then made visible and permanent by chemical treatment, or stored digitally. Going by this assumption it would be fair to assume that a camera is an integral part to creating the photograph. However, the Oxford English goes on to describe photography as the art or practice of taking and processing photographs. No mention made of the method that one should employ. So perhaps cameraless photography is not such an Oxymoron afterall.

Some of the methods of cameraless photography and its practioners are as follows:

Photograms – around since the late 1800’s . Objects exposed to photographic paper. No camera involved at all to create the image.

Practioners that use photograms :
Man Ray – Created his images by placing everyday objects onto photographic paper and exposing them directly to light. Therefor cutting out the need for a camera to create the photograph.  Man Ray dubbed these creations “Rayograms”. Whilst these images are an outline of a true representation of the objects captured they have a hint of the surreal and abstract about them.


Man Rays “Rayograph” – 1922, Gelatin Silver Print

Joy Gregory – ‘From the Language of Flowers’ – Joy Gregory bases her work on the Victorian notion that flowers all have individual meanings , different flowers to represent different emotions. Flowers would have been used to convey secret messages to loved ones. Her images portray this tradition and captures the fact that it has been lost in modern day society.

Tulip , 2004 , Cynotype

Tulip , 2004 , Cynotype

This image by Gregory almost seems to represent the lost memories of days gone by. The fragile nature of emotions and feelings expressed in an image.
Garry Fabian Miller – He create his images using a darkroom, lightsource and coloured glass objects to directly create the image on photographic paper. The photos that he creates capture colour, shape and light.

Becoming Magma, New Year, January 2005

Becoming Magma, New Year, January 2005

Floris Neususs – German . Be right back 84/87 Created using life size photogram of someone sitting on a chair, then photographed to look as though only the shadow of the sitter remains.

'Bin Gleich Zurück, (Be Right Back), (Fotogramminstallation), 1984/87'

‘Bin Gleich Zurück, (Be Right Back), (Fotogramminstallation), 1984/87’

Susan Derges – land artist, work about land, uses moonlight and photographic paper under water. -Light catchers- A short video about what inspires her work.



  • a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric on to a backing.
  • [mass noun] the art of making collages.
  • a collection or combination of various things: a collage of musical genres

 John Stezaker – A British Artist who doesn’t actually take photographs., he uses found imagery to create reimagined images. Surrealism . considered a photographer despite this, makes visual links in a vague way. For his marriage series he took publicity shots of famous faces and spliced them together to create a new , if uneasy, harmony.

Digital media as camera less photography –

Pavel Maria Smejkel – Pavel takes found photography and uses digital manipulation to make them his own. In his Fatescapes series he took iconic historical photographs and removed the human element that made them so poignant, which left us with just the scenery. It makes you ask yourself the question of “what if? ..” Historical moments are but fleeting . For example, the image Spain ,1936 is the landscape that features in Robert Cappa’s iconic images of the fallen militia man during the Spanish Civil War. Without the human element just what meaning does this landscape hold?

Mishka Henner –  Again uses found imagery to create his work.  No Man land II – uses Google earth to create his photographs
Pumped – looks at oil pumps on Google earth and puts them together to create an animated GIF.

Pumped , Miska Henner

Pumped , Miska Henner

Less Americans – taken the Americans out of the pictures in “homage” to Robert Franks – The Americans

Doug Rickard – A new American Picture – Ricard based this series on contemporary American photos books. He uses Google Street View to recapture scenes, thus creating new historical context.


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