Paho Mann
– Fragmented Cameras

August 7, 2019
Paho Mann

Spiderman Camera, 110mm Film Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Artist’s Statement

Paho Mann investigates the personal and cultural relationships to objects we collect to
address shifting values, perceptions, and memory. In the project, Fragmented
Cameras, Mann used a consumer-grade 3D scanner to scan historic and obsolete
cameras ranging from early stereoscopic cameras to first-generation iPhones. These
images explore connections between new and historic imaging technologies. Often, the
use of an emergent technology results in some deterioration in quality – in using
consumer-grade 3D scanning technology the scans often depict objects as fragmented
versions of themselves, almost as if they have exploded. This becomes a metaphor for
the constant transition of photographic technology and the use of new technology to
comment on increasingly obsolete formats of historic image-making. The new
technology displaces the old, reflecting a tempestuous relationship between the two.

From its inception photography has been thought of as a way to replicate human vision,
making copies of the real. This link to the real is intertwined with photography’s
relationship to new technology, resulting in various possibilities of how to depict reality.
But photography’s fixed vantage point always shows only one possibility of reality or
truth. Stereoscopic cameras were an early example of a new technology shifting
expectations of how photography replicated human vision, attempting to expand this
singular vantage point of a photograph to include the depth and physicality associated
with human perception. Among the cameras Mann scanned for this project are several
stereoscopic cameras ranging from early 19th century examples to 20th-century
disposable Kodak film 3D cameras. As these historic cameras become more obsolete
so do the ways that they claim to represent the world.

In the studio, Mann imports the 3D scans into Photoshop, a traditional 2D image editing
software. Here he adds colorful backgrounds using color swatches from photography
studio backdrops and by sampling the colors of the original cameras. Mann manipulates
lighting inside the software, much like a product or portrait photographer would do in a
lighting studio. The 3D scan is cropped to reflect the aspect ratio of the original
camera.

Mann sees historic ties between the desires embedded in the stereoscopic cameras to
the dual-camera often found in our cell phones to computational photography and the
virtual worlds made available through 3D scanning technologies. Through his practice of
allowing the 3D scans to glitch, Mann calls attention to the way lens-based media only
mediates, but never truly represents reality.

M&M Camera,​110mm Film Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Kodak Funsaver Camera, 35mm Film Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Harrah’s Camera, 110mm Film Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Le Stereo, Stereo Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Barbie Camera, 110mm Film Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Kirk Stereo Viewer, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Stereo, Stereo Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Stereo Contessa, Stereo Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Paho Mann

Santa Camera, 35m Film Camera, from the series Fragmented Cameras, 2019. © Paho Mann.

 

Bio

Paho Mann’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Arizona State University Art Museum
(Tempe, AZ), Tucson Museum of Art (Tucson, AZ), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) and the
Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA) among others. Mann’s work is included in the collections
of the Tucson Museum of Art, the Museum at Texas Tech University, the Nerman Museum of
Contemporary Art, and the City of Phoenix Public Art Program.

Mann was born in 1978 on his parents’ homestead near Snowflake, Arizona. In 1992 he moved with
his family to Albuquerque, New Mexico where in 2001 he received a BFA from the University of
New Mexico. He received his MFA from Arizona State University in 2007. Currently, Mann lives and
works in Dallas, Texas where he is an Associate Professor of Photography at the University of
North Texas.

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