Gigantic IMAGO Camera Shoots Full-Body Self-Portraits of Cinematographers – “I OF THE LENS” Exhibit in Berlin

As professional cinematographers, we are bound to know the tools that craft light into an image. Cameras have always utilized the pinnacle of available technology to harness mechanical and optical advances to forge better imagery. Contemporary cameras are meticulously made with great precision to provide us with a remarkable variety of creative options. But sometimes we are given a glimpse into the core of image-making, and such is the IMAGO camera at the heart of I OF THE LENS.
I OF THE LENS is a unique exhibit. It lets the audience participate in the creative process as both the photographer and the subject, while standing inside the huge IMAGO camera.
The IMAGO camera is at the heart of the I OF THE LENS exhibit. Credit: IMAGO
The IMAGO camera
As we squabble about Super 35, full frame, medium format, 65mm, or IMAX, the IMAGO camera at the center of I OF THE LENS is on a different level. This monstrous photographic contraption captures images on 60x200cm direct positive photographic paper. This means the image coming out of it is a unique “one-off” print. The concept is similar to the popular Instax or the more traditional Polaroid images but on a very different scale. But it’s more than the photographic product. It’s about a whole new experience.
Full-body photographs, captured on 60x200cm direct positive photographic paper by the IMAGO camera. Image credit: IMAGO
The IMAGO experience
To get your image printed on paper, you step inside the IMAGO. There’s a mirror to help you prepare, but the experience is uniquely personal. There is no director or photographer; it’s just you and your reflecting image inside this literal photo booth. The decisive moment, the shutter release, the stance, the expression on your face, and your dynamics with yourself or with a partner are all in your hands.
Image credit: IMAGO
The IMAGO camera lets you experience photography in its most fundamental state. The outcome, as can be seen here, is nothing short of magnificent. It’s not only the pristine image quality or huge size, it’s what it transcends – the result of total responsibility taken by the subject/creator.
Self-portraits of world-acclaimed cinematographers
In recent months, many world-acclaimed cinematographers were invited to take their self-portraits inside the IMAGO camera, and many of those are now part of the exhibition in Berlin.

The exhibition will showcase the life-sized portraits of distinguished cinematographers such as Lawrence Sher, ASC; Bojana Andric, SAS; Teresa Medina, AEC; Markus Förderer, ASC; Martin Ruhe, ASC; Balazs Bolygo, BSC; Ashley Barron, ACS; and many more. These awe-inspiring images will be accompanied by photography and still frames taken by each cinematographer, offering viewers a rare opportunity to connect with these visionary artists on both sides of the camera.
Team behind IMAGO camera
When, where (and who)
If you are lucky enough to be in Berlin soon, the I OF THE LENS exhibition is running until February 25, 2024 from 14-19h, and from February 26-March 31 by appointment only. You can book your experience here, and the address is IMAGO CAMERA, PRINZENSTRASSE 85D, 10969 BERLIN.
The artist behind IMAGO camera is Susanna Kraus, and the exhibition is produced by the close CineD friend and colleague Vika Safrigina. The exhibition is supported by IMAGO – International Federation of Cinematography (and yes, the name match is total serendipity, as we were assured by the organizers!), SUMOLIGHT and Leitz Cine.
Do you take an interest in the fundamentals of image making? Does large-format photography inspire you’re cinematic creativity? Let us know in the comments.

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