Most people have no use for their old film cameras, and many of them find their way to the trash.
Michael Vivona’s camera-art will make you rethink next time you’re about to dispose of the old equipment in your possession.
Vivona, who calls himself “something of an artist”, has built pieces for local New York collectors as well as high end boutiques.
While it wasn’t his initial intention to sell his creations, Vivona says his addiction to creating the pieces lead to him having 15 pieces in one room with more projects in the works.
The old cameras you threw out won’t find their way to Vivona, unfortunately, as he usually sources his cameras from thrift stores and antique stores. On occasion Vivona will receive a bunch of cameras in exchange for him making something in return.
Vivona is obviously not a photographer but he guesstimates the oldest camera he’s used was approximately 50 years old, with Kodak being the most common brand. Judging by these photos, it seems like quite a few of the cameras are 50-60 years old. I identified several of the cameras, including a Kodak Brownie Auto 27, Magimatic Magicube 126, Kodak Brownie Bullet and Valiant 620 and I suspect some of them are possibly even older.
A plumber by trade, Vivona believes the customized made-to-fit work he does at his day job is what makes him able to build these unusual pieces.
Knowing our readers are photography lovers, I was assured that efforts were made to minimize the use of working cameras:
“For the most part the cameras were inop or damaged. I have a large collection of cameras and these are from my junk pile. I try to use inop cameras and projectors where ever I can”.
As far as the process goes, Vivona says:
“It’s hard to say, people always ask me what I look for, and I always tell them I know it when I see it. My mother said it best, I can’t leave good enough alone, I’ve always modified things I’ve owned to suit my taste”.
Vivona started out building industrial furniture and lamps before he began building the robot sculptures, and occasionally mixes things up by creating something completely different.
If you’ve kept any old cameras due to sentimental value, perhaps this will inspire you to bring new life and purpose to them. Alternatively you can visit Vivona’s Etsy shop to see his pieces for sale, or just ‘browser’ shop.
Seeing these skillful pieces of art, I can’t help but wonder how long before DSLRs and other modern day cameras will be sourced at thrift shops as materials for similar projects.
If you recognize any of the other camera models, make sure to point them out in the comments.