Making new kinds of cameras to see the world in a new way...

Several years ago, I built my first homemade digital camera. The idea was simple - I would take an ordinary flatbed scanner, and use it in place of photo paper with a large format camera.

My first scanner camera was made from lots of duct tape, a cardboard box, and the cheapest flatbed scanner that I could find. I expected this to be a quick little art project, one that would take a week or two at the most. But when I got my first homemade digital camera to work, I noticed that some wonderful things were beginning to happen.

The objects in the scene that were stationary photographed normally, while the objects that were moving were twisted and distorted into wonderful shapes. At first, I thought that this was a mistake, that something was wrong with my new contraption. But I soon realized that the motion of the scanner was meshing with the motion of the recorded scene, creating unexpected, yet predictable, results. These motion distortions are similar to the effect created by moving a sheet on a photocopier mid-copy, except that they extend into three dimensions and only effect objects in motion.

I was tremendously excited by these developments. Instead of building a camera that mimicked the functionality of a traditional photographic camera, I had stumbled across a new tool for examining the relationships between time, motion, and image. What I though would be a two week art project has turned into one that has lasted for almost three years, and shows little sign of stopping. My cameras work a lot better now, although most of them still use a lot of duct tape, cardboard, and cheap flatbed scanners. I've begun to learn the vocabulary of the scanner camera, begun to be able to interpret and previsualize these strange new pictures. Some aspects of scanner photography are similar to traditional photography, and others are completely foreign.

Thanks for looking at my work... I hope you like it!

Mike Golembewski

P.S. Here's a little information about these photographs. The only software based manipulation of any of these images has been some slight adjustments of the curves and levels, in order to improve contrast and tone for print and screen display. They haven't been 'Photoshopped' in order to create these effects. All of the motion distortions are created entirely in camera.