Sunday, December 7, 2008
With the above camera, Michel Bayard made these:
Good Morning SuperForest.
A few years back I was walking through the city and I passed a man selling photos. What instantly caught my eye was that each photo was exactly the size of one frame of film, no enlargements, a one to one transfer.
I stopped and had a gander at the works, speaking in vague pleasantries with the vendor. The work was really good! I asked the guy: "What did you use to shoot these?"
And he replied: "This" taking a small plastic film container out of his pocket.
He had cut a chunk out of the side of the film canister, taped a small sliver of soda can over the hole, and pushed a teeny tiny pinhole through the sliver. He had made a pinhole camera.
I asked him how much he wanted for a piece, and he replied "Twenty dollars."
I cannot remember what happened next. I had no money, I chickened out, I was hit by a moving van. For some reason I walked away without a piece of this man's work.
I have spent every moment since looking for him.
Many were the nights I spent searching, kicking myself for not jumping at the chance to possess something that moved and interested me.
Yesterday, I found him!
Michel Bayard is an extraordinary New York photographer. His pinhole pieces are treasures. And when I saw him in Union Square this Saturday, I flipped out.
I got all fan boy. Trying to tell him how happy I was to find him while he was on the phone with someone...
He hung up the phone, gave me a smile and a handshake, and told me magical things...
He told me about using Altoids boxes to make cameras. He showed me how to position a pinhole camera to produce a variety of visual effects, bridges that twist and wobble, buildings that stretch skyward... He told me of his secret techniques for getting those that have not asked to cease photographing his works.
I did not get any of his back story, but I have his email, and I will approach him about doing an interview. His document of this modern city using an ancient method is utterly charming.
Michel has no official site, but many admirers:
apartmenttherapy.com - Michel Bayard: Pinhole Photographer
usefilm.com - Michel Bayard
fotolog.com - mbayard
Here's Michel's flickr set.
And here is Michel on an episode of BikeTV.
Most amazing is that Michel is clever and crafty enough to pack his entire display...
Onto this bicycle...
Michel, you are a SuperForest Hero. For your contribution to the cultural growth of the citizens of New York, E Pluribus Unum, your steadfast dedication to documenting this astouding urban environment, and for your awesome self-reliant, carbon-negative, bicycling ways, SuperForest is proud to award you... the Good Person Award!
After we had our lovely chat, Michel was kind enough to sell me this:
It cost $20.00, and I will treasure it for the remainder of my life.
Keep an eye out for Michel. The man is a living treasure.
He's sometimes in Union Square on weekends.
Love to All,