Bang, Bang, Snap! Existential Gun Photography

Now on view at the Photographer’s Gallery in London, “Shoot! Existential Photography” examines the apparent connection between the world’s two most popular “shooting” devices – guns and cameras.

After World War I, the photographic shooting gallery emerged as a popular sideshow feature are fairgrounds and carnivals. If you managed to hit the center of the target, instead of winning a prize you would win a snapshot of yourself firing one off.

Even some of the greatest creative minds of the 20th century loved to indulge in this game, from Jean-Paul Sartre to Federico Fellini. Along shots of celebrities getting trigger-happy, the exhibition also features the work of photographers fascinated by firearms. Steve Pippin’s series “Point Blank”, for example, is a intriguing experiment in self-timed photography. He aims his handgun at a camera and by engineering the camera’s shutter to coincide perfectly with the moment the bullet makes impact with the negative he produces seemingly impossible imagery. See some of the works from the exhibit that features contemporary artists like Sylvia Ballhause, Agnès Geoffray, Jean-François Lecourt, Christian Marclay, Steven Pippin, Émilie Pitoiset, Niki de Saint Phalle, Rudolf Steiner and Patrick Zachmann.

“Shoot! Existential Photography ,” Various Artists, Through Jan 6, The Photographer’s Gallery, London

(Photos: The Guardian)