Wayne Martin Belger

Wayne Martin Belger

Member, Freestyle Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals

Biography

The cameras I build are designed to be the sacred bridge of a communion offering between myself and the subject." Tuscon-based photographer/sculptor Wayne Martin Belger handcrafts crafts intricate cameras inset with semi-precious stones, human organs, relics and talismans, each designed for his specific studies in pinhole photography ranging from portraits of expectant mothers, members of the clergy and HIV+ positive people to underwater explorations and elaborate staged narratives reinterpreting traditional religion iconography.

Belger's work has been featured in Photographic Possibilities, Third Edition: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes; Exploring Color Photography, Fifth Edition: From Film to Pixels; Pinhole Photography in Art Education; Steampunk, The Art of Victorian Futurism; and Device, Vol 1: Fantastic Contraption as well as numerous national and international publications.


Articles

Ask The Experts

Hi Bob! Well, you asked... ;-) My latest project is called Divine Proportion. The camera is a see through 8x10 pneumatic X-Ray camera designed to study a scientific view of creation/destruction mythology. The exterior is a lead glass case with a 2 micron tungsten pinhole allowing scatter from the impact of the high-intensity x-ray beam generated by a 240m particle accelerator, on a sculpture to enter and form an image on the 8x10 X-ray film inside the camera. The rest of the camera is built from aluminum, titanium, tungsten, and lead glass with pneumatics that allow the glass case to open and close. Inside are relics relevant to the theme of creation and destruction. A statue of Shiva, the Indian god of creation and destruction, is mounted on two pieces of Trinitite from the first nuclear test at the Trinity site in New Mexico to symbolize destructive power. Behind the statue is a piece of a meteorite that was formed before our sun and solar system called carbonaceous chondrite, representing creation. Lastly, my grandfathers compass is suspended over the figure of Shiva to indicate divine proportion. Two objects will photographed by the Divine Proportion camera in the Stanford particle accelerator. One will represent J Robert Oppenheimer and the other will be the Hindu god Shiva. As the Father of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer has an obvious connection to this project, both in terms of how his research has been directed toward peacetime applications by the particle accelerator and yet, how society continues to fear the destructive power of atomic particles. Although he is lauded as a creative genius behind the first nuclear bomb, he is also despised for creating one of the most destructive devices in history. During the first nuclear test he famously quoted the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita: If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. and Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. In the Hindu religion, rather than a binary system of good and evil, Shiva acts as both a destroyer and benefactor. The main inspiration for the project was my grandfather and the engineers and physicists of the 30s and 40s. My grandfather was an engineer from MIT and worked on secret projects during WW2 at Edward Air Force base. He is the inventor of the gas turbine engine and held many patents. Also J Robert Oppenheimer was a major inspiration. The father of the atomic bomb and completely self taught in Sanskrit he could quote the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita. His passions were the most destructive power on earth, and the most pacifistic religion on earth. All the best,