NPR logo In Your Face: Big Pix, Few Pixels

In Your Face: Big Pix, Few Pixels

New iPhones have three. Most point-and-shoot digital cameras have about 10. The Canon 5D Mark II has a ridiculous 21.1. Megapixels, that is. So imagine what 0.3 megapixels look like. (Here's a hint: pretty terrible.) That's what inspired Michal Daniel to use a camera of that size. While everyone else was shopping around for the highest quality camera, he was hunting for the worst.

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The real source of inspiration for Daniel was Star Trek, his favorite show in the early 1970s. "I dreamt of an electronic notebook with a camera, like the personal communicators on the Enterprise," he writes. He purchased a now-obsolete Eyemodule2 — which offers the lowest resolution possible — attached it to a digital organizer (something like a Palm Pilot), and was instantly stealthy as a spy.

Daniel's camera hide caption

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Typically a photographer of theater, he was seeking candid, offstage moments, but felt hindered by clunky cameras that made his presence too obvious. The hand-held device offered a disguise. His series and book In Your Face is a small selection of images taken with this small camera, all extreme close-ups of people without guards.

Daniel quotes James Agee:

"Only in certain waking moments of suspension, of quiet, of solitude, are these guards down, and these moments are only rarely to be seen by the person himself, or by any other human being."

"This is my collection of some of these unguarded moments," he writes. Captain Kirk would undoubtedly be impressed.

  • View more photos taken with this camera here.
  • Check out Michal Daniel's Web site for his professional work.

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