Ocular Distortion – Nightshade Impressions

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under culture, photography

Ocular Distortion - Nightshade Impressions

Ocular Distortion

About the Artist

My interest in photography began when I was very young. My father was one of the best known photographers and “print men” in Argentina, and since he had a lab in our house I had plenty of opportunities to watch him perform his awe-inspiring magick in the darkroom. I watched and learned and, with his help, became enthralled in black, white, and those 256 shades in between. To me, photography is a perfect blend of science and art.

The 35mm equipment I currently use are a Canon AE-1, a Minolta X-700, and a Samsung Maxima 70 XL for those quick and easy social event shots. My main medium-format cameras are a Kowa 6 and a Mamiya 635. I often indulge in my love for the old and unusual by employing various different cameras from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. For example, I will sometimes use a Holga, which is a badly made, cheap, plastic toy medium format camera mass produced in the People’s Republic of China. These things leaks light all over the place, and I have to wrap the camera with duct tape before using it to keep light from leaking in and to keep the film door from flying open and ruining the film. If it were a boat, it would sink. The value of these cameras is in their various flaws. They create blurry images and dramatic contrast, and can often produce those surreal images one sees in magazines. It is so difficult to take a good picture with this camera that the photographer is forced into an understanding of light and the camera eye.

I am something of a traditionalist and don’t particularly care for digital photography. I do, however, enjoy the ease afforded by such hardware, and so I have a digital camera always at the ready around the house so that I can send my family instant pictures of my daughter. I feel that modifying a mediocre picture on a computer to make it look as though the photographer actually knew what he was doing is dishonest, and it takes away the art of having to understand light, aperture and field of vision, because most digital cameras do everything for you. There is nothing for the photographer to do but point and press. When a person shoots with film, they have to think about it for a long time before pushing the shutter button. They have to try to estimate to the best of their ability how the camera is going to “see” the subject, and how the settings they use will effect the overall result. There are many digital photographers that I admire, but to me digital photography represents our culture’s desire for cheap and instant gratification.


One of the things I love about Portland is the way neat looking buildings are considered art. Often, when a building is unsafe, they will demolish the main part of the structure, but keep reinforce the facing wall intact so that the neighborhood does not lose its charm. I thought it looked spooky. Kowa 120mm with Fuji Film

Facade by Gerald del Campo
©2009 by Gerald del Campo. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Happens to the Best of Us

Imagine my surprise when I learned Batman had died. I wondered who had done him in: The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin, or maybe he finally gave in to the charms of Catwoman. Of course, he could have simply grown old and died, or ended his own life when he realized that the world is perfectly happy being as corrupt as it is, but that hardly seemed like a fitting end for a superhero. Taken at Riverview Cemetery in Portland. Minolta X-700, Fuji Film

Happens to the Best of Us by Gerald del Campo
©2009 by Gerald del Campo. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


This was taken at Pioneer Cemetery during the spring of 2002. I was working with two models that day, which is pretty rare for me since I like to focus my attention on one subject at a time. This model’s name is Bet. I wished to portrait an angel watching over the person in the grave, or waiting for the day that he or she would rise up. We were kicked out by the caretaker because he felt her clothing was just a little too see-through. No sense of fashion, this guy. Kowa 120mm, Fuji Film.

Bet by Gerald del Campo
©2009 by Gerald del Campo. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Deadly Nightshade

I have always been fascinated by the beauty and appeal of the poisonous things in nature. I bumped into this huge, basketball sized specimen at the Japanese Gardens in Portland. It was cut down the following week, so I am happy I got a chance to photograph it. Minolta X-700 w/Fuji Film

Deadly Nightshade by Gerald del Campo
©2009 by Gerald del Campo. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

©2009 by Gerald del Campo
Text edited and images resized by Sheta Kaey

Gerald del Campo has authored three books on the subject of Thelema: A Heretic’s Guide to Thelema, New Aeon Magick: Thelema Without Tears, and New Aeon English Qabalah Revealed. He is a photographer, musician and CEO for the Order of Thelemic Knights, the first Thelemic charitable organization. You can visit his blog at http://solis93.livejournal.com and his websites at http://thelemicknights.org and http://egoandtheids.com. Gerald serves as Senior Managing Editor of Rending the Veil.

Rending the Veil is seeking serious volunteers to help kick off next summer with new features and new staff. Also, we now welcome submissions anytime, so send in your best pieces today! Volunteer application (.docx).


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