The film camera - the artist’s second eye - is sometimes more than an invisible tool. Its performance can provide the main subject of a film. 

Films showing in this section: 

14:40 - James Williamson The Big Swallow 1901
14:41 - Tim Macmillan Jump 1983
14:42 - Tim Macmillan Cat 1984
14:43 - Tim Macmillan Water 1983
14:46 - Tony Morgan Camera 1971
14:48 - Guy Sherwin Short Film Series 1976-2000
15:08 - Tony Hill Downside Up 1985

James Williamson The Big Swallow 1901

1 minute. Collection: BFI National Film & Television Archive 

James Williamson was a chemist based in Hove. This early ‘trick’ film features a Victorian gentleman objecting to being photographed. As the man’s head comes closer (with, for the time, a sophisticated adjustment of focus), he opens his mouth and engulfs the photographer. Many early films explored the point of view in similar playful ways. 

Biography:

James Williamson was born in Scotland in 1885. He had a chemist’s shop in Hove near G A Smith’s pleasure garden. From processing films, he moved fully into the business of exhibition, and from 1897 began shooting a few films of his own. By 1910, he had ceased production, to concentrate on manufacturing film equipment. He died in 1938. 

Tim Macmillan Jump 1983

30 seconds. Collection: Artist 

While still a student at The Slade, Tim Macmillan built cameras as sculptures - which were completed by the instantaneous exposure of a loop of film. His invention of the ‘time-slice’ has been widely exploited in recent years by science and advertising. The films are silent 

Biography:

Tim Macmillan was born in Portland Oregon in 1959. He studied at Bath Academy of Art and the Slade School of Art. Macmillan developed his sculptural time-slice cameras while at the Slade, and later successfully developed the technique commercially as a way of sustaining his own use of the medium, and related still-image work. His Dead Horse was shortlisted for the Citibank Prize in 2000. He worked in Japan in the late 80s but now lives and works in Bath. www.timeslicefilms.com 

Tim Macmillan Cat 1984

30 seconds. Collection: Artist 

Biography:

Tim Macmillan was born in Portland Oregon in 1959. He studied at Bath Academy of Art and the Slade School of Art. Macmillan developed his sculptural time-slice cameras while at the Slade, and later successfully developed the technique commercially as a way of sustaining his own use of the medium, and related still-image work. His Dead Horse was shortlisted for the Citibank Prize in 2000. He worked in Japan in the late 80s but now lives and works in Bath. www.timeslicefilms.com 

Tim Macmillan Water 1983

30 seconds. Collection: Artist 

Biography:

Tim Macmillan was born in Portland Oregon in 1959. He studied at Bath Academy of Art and the Slade School of Art. Macmillan developed his sculptural time-slice cameras while at the Slade, and later successfully developed the technique commercially as a way of sustaining his own use of the medium, and related still-image work. His Dead Horse was shortlisted for the Citibank Prize in 2000. He worked in Japan in the late 80s but now lives and works in Bath. www.timeslicefilms.com 

Tony Morgan Camera 1971

4 minutes. Collection: Artist 

Many of Tony Morgan’s films involve portraiture in some form. Here he and his camera perform a double self-portrait, lasting the length of a roll of film. The film is silent. 

Biography:

Tony Morgan was born in 1938. He studied at Northern Polytechnic, London, and Dusseldorf Academy. Morgan made nearly 50 films between 1968 and 1976, exhibiting them widely - Documenta 4, Information (MOMA NY) 1970, Prospect 1971 (Dusseldorf). Some recorded performances or events (Haircut, 1975), others were sculptural installations (Wall Slap, Lisson Gallery 1971); many involved collaboration with other artists (Robert Filliou, George Brecht, Lutz Mommartz, Bob Law). Morgan returned to painting in the late 80s, occasionally making films and tapes. He lives in Geneva. 

Guy Sherwin Short Film Series 1976-2000

18 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Short Film Series is an open-ended sequence of more than twenty-five three-minute films, each the length of a hundred-foot roll. They may be shown in any order. The themes that play among them include autobiography and the domestic, the natural world, time and the mechanisms of film. The films are silent. 

Biography:

Guy Sherwin was born in 1948. He studied at Chelsea School of Art. He helped establish fine art film at the North East London Polytechnic in the 1970s, before becoming workshop organiser at the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. He still hand-develops and prints much of his own 16mm film work. Widely travelled and exhibited, Sherwin now teaches at the University of Wolverhampton, Middlesex University and (periodically) at the San Francisco Art Institute. 

Tony Hill Downside Up 1985

17 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Tony Hill has described Downside Up as ‘a film which by the use of simple camera movement explores and reviews some relationships, literally upsetting earth’s stability’. Many of Hill’s films have been made with purpose-built equipment, in this case a rotating camera-carrying structure. 

Biography:

Tony Hill was born in 1946. He studied at St Martins School of Art, London. Initially trained as an architect, his work has been preoccupied with the interaction of the film camera’s monocular viewpoint and the space through which it moves. His ingenious camera mounts which enable complex and seemingly impossible movements have brought him commercial success alongside his practice as an artist. He lives and works in Derbyshire.