Using hand made cameras to study a fictitious us and them, Wayne Belger travels to Africa photographing people living with HIV/AIDS.
"Inspiration for this project comes from my desire to learn about my present world, past world, the world inside me. Most of my projects have been extremely personal quests. I have created cameras that deal with landmark times in my personal history to further explore the depths of those transitional moments.
The Untouchable or HIV Camera started with a conversation with one of my good friends about what his life has been like before and after being diagnosed HIV positive. In our conversations it was clear I couldn’t see the world the way he does, the way people see him, the stigma of HIV that he deals with and what daily life is like living with an internal, unseen villain. With the help of my friend I created the “Untouchable” project: a project of understanding that will evolve and grow to increase the awareness of what life is like for people living with HIV and AIDS."
The HIV pinhole camera has three clear cylinders that contain HIV+ blood that circulates through with the help of a pump made from rare earth magnets that slide on titanium rails. The blood then flows between two sheets of Acrylic that are five-thousandths of an inch apart and mounted right in front of the pinhole (the hole that allows light in to create the image on film). Wayne tested with his own blood and a light meter: at five-thousandths of an inch thick, the blood (after mixing with the right combinations of Heparin as an anticoagulant and .9% Sodium Chloride to stabilize has the same light restriction as a #25 red filter used in photography. When he had the combination right, he had a doctor take some of his friend’s HIV+ blood, mixed it, and then inserted it into the camera.
The body of the camera is fabricated from solid blocks of Aircraft grade aluminum, titanium and copper. The only parts Wayne didn’t make in his shop were the 10,000-PSI military aircraft hydraulic lines and fittings in the front of the camera—military grade titanium nuts, bolts and screws that hold everything together.
The camera is designed to study people living with HIV and AIDS. All photographs are shot through and altered by HIV positive blood. So far Untouchable has photographed about 14 HIV+ people in San Francisco and 15 in Grand Rapids Michigan.
With the help of Kickstarter Wayne Belger is taking the project to Ethiopia, Uganda, Sierra Leona and Calcutta to photograph a geographic comparison of people living with the virus, and how that geographic or political location makes all the difference in one's well-being.
The resulting images will be shown around the world in museums and galleries and will also be published in a book entitled Bloodworks.
Wayne Martin Belger
- Past Jobs;
Camp counselor, stock boy, professional treasure hunter, child recovery, rock climbing instructor, scuba instructor (Dive Master Training), L.A. Kings Pro Hockey team (mascot, “Kingston”), Anaheim Mighty Ducks Pro Hockey team (mascot, “Wildwing”), Hockey player, studio musician, professional touring musician (Wicked Tinkers), artist, machinist, manicurist.
- Solo Shows;
Meta Gallery, Toronto, Canada April 2010 (Part of Contact Photography Festival)
Varnish Fine Art, San Francisco, CA. October 2006
Billy Shire Fine Art, Culver City, CA. March 2006
Bert Green Fine Art, Gallery Row, L.A., CA. April 2005
Etherton Gallery, Tucson, AZ. January 2005 (W/ Joel-Peter Witkin)
Root 2 Fruit, San Francisco, CA. November 2002
Todd Hughs Fine Art, Pasadena, CA. December 2001
The BAU Gallery, Ojai, CA. August 2001
The Brewery, L.A., CA. June 2000
- Group Shows;
La Luz de Jesus, L.A. CA. Fall 2011
UICA, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art. Grand Rapids, MI. Sep-Nov 2010
Art 21 Art Fair, Colon Germany fall 2010
Meta Gallery, Toronto Canada. January 2010
Stychnin Gallery, London England, December 2009
Rivet Gallery, Columbus, Ohio. February 2009
Device Gallery, La Jolla, CA July 2008
La Luz de Jesus Gallery, L.A., CA. March 2004
M Modern Gallery, Palm Springs, CA. February 2004
Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA. October 2003
City of Brea Gallery, Brea, CA. April 2003
Wiford & Vogt fine art, Santa Fe, NM. December 2002
Fototeka fine art, L.A. CA. June 2002
The Folk Tree Gallery, Pasadena, CA. October 2001
- Publications; Feature Articles
Exploring Color Photography, 5th Edition. Contributor. Robert Hirsch, Spring 2011
Photo Pro Magazine, 2 page feature story, London, December 2010
Popular Mechanics, 4 page feature story, Russia, October 2009
Top Class Magazine, 2 page feature story, Czech Republic. Spring 2009
Arena Magazine, 2 page feature story, Turkey. Spring 2009
Bizarre Magazine, 2-page feature story, London, August 2007
ALARM Magazine #26, 6-page feature story by Summer Kumar, Spring 2007
B&W Magazine #53, 6 page feature story by Richard Pitnick, 2007
Juxtapoz Magazine, 10 page feature November 2006
San Francisco Chronicle, Feature story, October 2006
Elle Décor, Full page feature September 2005
Brentwood Magazine, Full page feature story May 2005
Tucson Weekly, Feature story February 2005
Seattle Weekly, Art pick of the week for October 8th-14th 2003
Los Angeles Times Magazine, 4 page feature story, Sunday November 24th 2002,
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