A new exhibit of the work of reclusive Czech photographer Miroslav Tichý has recently opened at ICP in New York. The handmade cameras he makes are nearly as beautiful as the photos the cameras produce.
I cut a lens out of Plexiglas with a knife, ground the lens, made a camera of wood and cardboard, and took pictures with that. Of course it worked. When I do something, it has to be precise. Truly, the lens was not precise, but maybe that’s where the art is… Then I grind the lens with various types of sandpapers, first coarse sandpaper, then finer and finer, until you can see through it beautifully. And then what? It needs to be polished, that isn’t a problem. You take toothpaste, mix it with cigarette ash, and then you polish it. And that’s what I photographed with.