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Kurt Mottweiler: Mottweiler Studios

Making Traditional Cameras - Crafting a Path with Technology

Website: Mottweiler Studio

In recognition of Portland’s month of photo activities and the resurgence of interest in alternative and historic photographic techniques, Kurt Mottweiler will present some of his original designs for medium and large format cameras while exploring a collection of details about design and fabrication techniques used in his process. He will provide examples of camera design as well as associated examples of luminaire design and a recent venture into the world of timekeeping.

Kurt Mottweiler likes to blur the lines between craftsmanship and technology. As a maker and as a student of both traditional crafts and industrial design, he attempts to find balance between the utility and beauty of mechanical objects while acknowledging the value of both traditional manual skill and contemporary manufacturing technology in  creating those objects. With a generous nod to David Pye, Kurt also cites such diverse creative influences as Wharton Esherick, Walter Dorwin Teague and Ingo Mauer, The maker’s path taken by Kurt emphasizes the value of detailed work and a reverence for materials while paying less heed to the importance of specialization of skills.

Raised by an autodidact father with a passion for photography, Kurt grew up watching his father engaged in the business of selling and racing Porsches. From frequent adventures on the SCCA racing circuit to photographing Concours d’Elegance entries at the annual Porsche Parade, he was quick to soak up the stimulations of the world around him. When his father switched from Porsches to motorcycles, Kurt took on the role of both selling and racing and thus continued his immersion in the aesthetics of and the interaction with mechanical objects. So it seems fitting that one of his passions is the design and creation of traditional, film-based cameras that range from the simplest, lensless, wooden cameras to fully computer-controlled, rotating panoramic cameras.