This month we welcome Camille Sue Roche as our guest blogger in the Be Our Guest series. Born and raised in France, Camille moved to Baltimore in January 2017, and immediately fell in love with the city.
Camille has been taking pictures during her free (and not so free) time for about 15 years. For most of those years, she did not really think about it — taking pictures was therapeutic, like writing in a journal or meditating every day.
Recently, she came to realize this is also a way to apprehend places, and the world in general, a tool to get “out of her bubble” and engage in conversations with people she would not be given the opportunity to interact with otherwise, an excuse to talk to strangers. Those strangers, the cities they inhabit, the conversations, the smiles, and the stories being shared are some of the things she enjoys the most on earth.
On a sunny Sunday in the winter of 2017, I went to a flea market and found a toy camera called Split-Cam, still in its box, which I bought for $2.
It was small black and yellow plastic, with black stripes and a red button to trigger. No batteries needed.
The product description stated “imagine your boss with the head of a donkey, or your sister’s legs on your brother’s body, with the amazing Split-Cam, you can morph two photos together into all kinds of crazy combinations (…) use any standard 35mm film and has no flash. “
Although it would have been a very funny thing to do, I did not get the chance to put a donkey’s head on my boss’ body… or to photograph my siblings with it (yet !)… but from the day I purchased it, I took it out quite often in Baltimore, and took pictures of the streets and the the landscape.
When the first roll was processed, I was pleasantly surprised by what came out. It did not resemble the examples on the box at all, and I was delighted to see how the top and bottom of the frame were morphing, instead of just being one below the other.
The images were quite different from what I usually photograph (i.e. anything with people). They were more experimental, and more abstract, but still figurative. What I loved about photographing the city with this camera, was that it seemed to create new places…
Places both real, and only existing on film. Places trying to tell a story. A story about contrast (with all of its meanings), about poetry being everywhere, about flowers growing in ruins…
I have been loving this process, its simplicity and unpredictability…
And I am eager to discover the places the Split-Cam will show me in the future…
Do you want to Be Our Guest? Leave us a comment below with a link to your blog, Instagram account, or other place you post your images. You can also add a hashtag to your IG images: #viewfindersio_beourguest.
See you soon.