Stephen Shore

Mick-a-Matic Camera. 1971. Plastic, 7 × 7 × 6" (17.8 × 17.8 × 15.2 cm). Mfr.: Child Guidance Products. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York

Mick-a-Matic camera. 1971 377

Mick-a-Matic Camera. 1971. Plastic, 7 × 7 × 6" (17.8 × 17.8 × 15.2 cm). Mfr.: Child Guidance Products. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York

I discovered early on that the camera I use affects the picture; that particular cameras lend themselves to particular kinds of photography.

The Mick-a-Matic was simply the most amazing and delightful snapshot camera. When you do portraits with a Mick-a-Matic, your subject is always smiling, because they're looking at a big, plastic head of Mickey Mouse.

What I learned from that I put into practice the next year when I began the series American Surfaces. I wanted to have a camera that did not feel intimidating to people. I knew that as I was traveling around the country and stopping people, and saying, "Can I take your picture?", it would be a very different experience if I had a small snapshot camera. But I wanted something that was optically pretty sophisticated. So I got a Rollei 35, which was a precursor of the current point and shoot. And I thought that was exactly the right camera for that kind of picture.

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