SYMBOLIC CAMERA

In the beginning stages of our projects, we were told to build a 'symbolic camera' to represent our interest and to help us define the direction we wished to take with the video. We had complete creative freedom over this, and could decide whether or not this camera should even look like a traditional camera. The effort applied to this art project effectively helped me in consolidating my motivation and determination to see this short visual project through.

I had already decided the subject of my video project: the Video Club of Saint Georges d'Oléron. My thought process behind the creation of this symbolic camera was rather essential: seeing as they are themselves an association of filmmakers, the camera will inherently be at the center of focus. I therefore chose to recreate a traditional camera, and annotated the brand and make of the camera I would be using for the filming. I also allowed myself a little fun by replacing the very well-known brand of Canon for the name of the island: Oléron. The colour and screen interface were also chosen and drawn on to further this idea of being as truthful to a traditional camera as possible. I wanted people to recognize the ‘filmmaking’ process is at the very center of the project.

I need to address the elephant in the room. In order to represent the members of the club, and to show the collective element of any association, I added the tiny hands all holding and supporting the camera. At the risk of being too literal, I wanted to show how every member of the club has a hand in the final documentaries they produce, from filming to editing. Additionally, I needed to show how close this film was to being a participatory ethnographic film. I borrowed some of their equipment for some scenes, and wanted to show how the club itself supported this project. I also wanted to heavily point out that while the man on the ‘camera screen’ is my grandfather by himself, as co-president and one of my relations to enter the club, a lot more people are present in the project. The final cut of my project definitely gives more of an even focus on multiple members of the club.

I also sent pictures of this symbolic camera to the members, who thoroughly enjoyed laughing at how creepy it looked.