As Halloween fast approaches, we were inspired to bring you some of the darkest and most bizarre items we’ve come across. Hands down, this pinhole camera crafted by sculptor Wayne Martin Belger is the spookiest we have ever seen. The piece, entitled Third Eye, is part of a small collection of eerie photography equipment made from metal, precious stones, and human remains.
Crafted from a skull that once belonged to a 13-year-old girl, the device works by briefly exposing film inside the skull’s shell… and just like other pinhole cameras, there are no lenses, battery powered flashes, or any ability to zoom in on a subject. Belger says he prefers this low-tech photo capturing method, because it’s the most “true representation of a segment of light and time—a pure reflection of what is at that moment.”
From a green design perspective, the camera incorporates re-purposed and natural materials, but the use of a human skull has created a stir about whether it’s ethical or not. We’ll refer to the sculptor’s take on it: in his artist’s statement, Belger comments that his work is inspired by gold and silver products used by priests, which represent the body and blood of a spirit. He also states that each camera is intended to relate to a specific subject to be photographed; in the above case, it is a gravesite. As intended, the sepia-toned, blurry photos taken with the camera give onlookers a chilling feeling, along with an appreciation for the odd, and beautifully dark imagery.
In our interview with him, Belger stated: “…the skull was from a med student’s study kit in 1900. Then for about a hundred years it lived in an attic in England. As far as respect for Human remains, I have respect for all of nature’s remains, and honor them so. I spent a great deal of time in Southeast Asia, so I do lean toward Eastern views. The skull is the ‘left overs’ of the soul and is a honored part of nature. It should be respected as an animal skull, an insect skull, or a leaf. I think when you put humans and their remains above all other forms of nature, the separation allows for the thoughtless, elitist, easy destruction of nature. You get things like animals hunted to extinction, burning rain forests, and oil spills… By the way, the use of human remains in art is an old, widespread tradition. Tibetans would carve skulls and do beautiful inlay work, and they would also make flutes out of human femurs. As far as the west, look at the Catacombs in France or look up Prague’s Sedlec Ossuary, aka ‘The Bone Church’. Both are religious institutions.”