Untouchable blood-camera goes to Africa for HIV portrait series

Wayne Martin Belger created the blood camera, which incorporates HIV-infected blood that acts as a red filter for portraits of HIV+ people. Now he's taking the project, which is called "Untouchable," to Africa:

I'm taking the untouchable to Sierra Leona, Liberia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Calcutta and 5 locations in Cambodia to do portraits of people living with HIV. I'm working with a major international HIV Health organization to make it all happen and they are really excited about the possibility of this project creating a new view of the global HIV community. So far, I've photographed about 60 people all over the US. With the Africa/Asia photos it will give a world contrast on how your geo location makes all the difference in your well-being and how major pharmaceutical profits need are at the heart of life and death.

I have a publisher that wants to do a book on the project and two major venues that are excited about exhibiting the finale work next year.

Bloodworks: Africa (Thanks, Wayne!)


  1. “So I said to myself, ‘Self, what I really need is a red filter. But not just any red filter – but one made from blood. Human blood. Some people may be satisfied with shark blood or monkey blood – not me. Go big or go home, as I always say. Anyway, I was worried that a blood camera had been done before because the one thing I learned from watching HBO is there are vampires out there. Then I got it – HIV+ blood – the most dangerous blood known to man! From there it required some copper and other metal bits, but in a few months time I was the only person who owned an HIV+ blood filtered camera. From then on, the words Kodak Moment had a more sinister meaning for me.'”

    1. I think Ebola- or rabies-positive blood is far more dangerous than HIV+ on the “how fast and nastily can this shit kill you” spectrum. So his next project is an Ebola-blood camera; he’ll parachute into the next hot zone with it.

  2. Next up is the excrement camera, although some skeptics believe he has already created this… several times.

  3. You can see more of his camera designs in the book Devices. He’s got one made of a human skull inlaid with precious stones.

  4. This is as goofy as…a room sized bamboo printing press which only prints the word “freedom”

    I love art, I hate ARTISTS – so stay the hell off my grass!

  5. I saw a show a couple years ago featuring his wild art cameras along with photos taken with them. You can see some of them at his website at http://boyofblue.com/cameras.html Even if you don’t really like weirdo contemporary art, the work on these is just gorgeous… in addition to being all thought-provoking-like.

  6. What are the issues around carrying hazardous medical waste in carry on luggage?

    For such a camera, you shouldn’t skimp by purchasing generic filters. Only genuine Swiss HIV infected blood will do.

  7. Uh, does this mean I should have sympathy to red hue naked men that are positive? I am not sure how this changes my perception or further bring awareness to the issues of HIV or those in the wake of it. It’s a good archetype of Andres Serrano’s work, though and I like its artistic presence. It’s kinda creepy.

  8. Dude some of the countries chosen in Africa are much lower than average for HIV rates. Grab your sack and go further down south where there are many more people suffering. Or are you just trying to vacation in some nice spots where you know some people?

  9. Really?? Did you not get that this artist actually machined every piece of all of his cameras? And that each camera and the photographs it takes is actually created with an intention to bring awareness to the very things most people chose to ignore…like the the fact that HIV is one of the top killers of people in the world!!? I was lucky enough to see this artist’s work last Fall in Grand Rapids,MI. The impact it had on a very conservative community was unbelievable. The dialogue it created between the HIV community and the general public is something that is still going on and is priceless. Mr. Belger thinks at a depth of intelligence and meaning that most of us are ignorant of. It’s disappointing to see that so many people have missed the point of this project.You fit the very mindset he is attempting to break…continued denial and ignorance of real world issues because of the inability to look past your own world…your own limited perspective.

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