About the Book
Rules. "Don't stare, don't point," said mom. "Ask permission before making pictures," say others.
That's not for me. I want to get as close a look as I can, right in your face if possible, without you paying me any mind. If I can make a picture while you're doing what you're doing, unguarded, even though I'm right there in your face, that's my goal.
But working with a visible camera impacts the scene. Not only can it irritate people, overt camera use also alters the entire existing dynamic, often destroying the very moment one wishes to record, before it is recorded. So my intention is to record the moments, while leaving everyone be, without them feeling observed.
Hard to do. Few succeeded like Walker Evans did, his camera hidden under his overcoat, lens peeking through a button hole. But even Evans kept his distance and could not get in people's faces without his intent being noticed.
In 2001, after a quarter of a century of trying to be invisible with a standard camera, I finally found the perfect photographic tool which I use to this day: a plastic digital camera that fits on a digital organizer. The camera and organizer are now obsolete and the camera's highest resolution -- 640x480 pixels – is today the lowest resolution on the market.
640x480.net is where I put my keepers.
The Eyemodule2 -- or "eyemod" as I call it and its output -- is small, silent, and doesn't resemble a camera. It's just a bump on my PDA. When I use it, I look like I have a reason to be holding it, staring down at it, in the palm of my hand -- a reason having nothing to do with photography. I behave as if completely absorbed with digital organizing, paying no attention to the people I photograph. To them, I simply seem like any other self-absorbed pedestrian.
Most importantly, the tool helps me achieve my primary goal: recording people's unguarded public selves, from the nearest proximity possible, while unnoticed, and leaving them to continue, undisturbed.
Features & Details
Born in Prague, then Czechoslovakia. Left for the US in 1969. Served in the USAF and became photographer after seeing my first 4×5 neg come up in the developer, under a green safelight: military boot stepping on a flower. Corny, I know, but hey, I was instantly in love, forever. Ran my own custom b&w lab in Minneapolis for two decades, taught fine b&w printing, was the first and then exclusive US importer of FOMA film and paper products from the Czech Republic. Always made street photos for myself, and live entertainment images for a living, now back home in Prague. More in this TV segment about me: http://www.mnoriginal.org/art/?p=3157