Harald Mairböck

Harald Mairböck, cube, "a picture is a camera is a picture" series, 2012-2015

From the a picture is a camera is a picture work group, unique silver gelatin prints, each 18 x 18 cm

Austria 2012–2015


In the cubes series from the work group a picture is a camera is a picture the photographic process of depiction is my subject, and I show it as a single act. The motivation behind this series was the issue of the reduction of means. How can the classic and complex photographic process be simplified? Does one need a camera body, lens, film, developer, enlarger, photo paper, and chemical processing in order to make a photographic image?
This led me to the thought that light-sensitive paper already carries an image embedded in it if the principle of physical depiction is applied to it. Thus, in an act of self-referentiality, a sheet of photo paper is folded into a box to become a camera obscura and given multiple exposures by means of a pinhole. Afterwards, unfolded once again, it reverts from being a room to a pictorial surface, and as a finished photograph it exhibits traces of all of the photographic processes it has undergone: the pinhole, the lens, the aperture, the folds in the paper indicating the camera body, and the infalling light – the photo in the normal sense of the word. Hence, cubes only uses the basic elements of photography, viz. photo paper, developer/fix, and pure light. (Harald Mairböck)


"A pinhole camera made of folded photographic paper brings together a number of photographic parameters: equipment and image, process and material. The folds remain visible as traces of its previous use as a piece of equipment as is the pinhole itself (the aperture through which the light travelled) and, finally, the exposure, light traces which include the spatial perspective (as with every pinhole camera)." (Horak: 2016)


Harald Mairböck, born 1963, lives and works in Vienna, Austria.


Ruth Horak, Light, Photo Book #57 (Vienna: Fotogalerie Wien, 2016), p. 14 and 28.

Vasja Nagy, Harald Mairböck, A picture is a camera is a picture (

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