When Matt Greenwood saw this video on YouTube last year, he didn’t just gawk in a rude fashion (as we did). Inspired by people’s responses when confronted by a camera sans photographer, Matt sought to expand on an idea previously touched on only by self-timers. And when he happened to come across a disposable camera, idea met material and art was born.
Maybe you’ve seen them, maybe you’ve stolen them, but they’re there—disposable cameras scattered across the city, hung below a simple message: “Take picture, don’t steal” (yup, some things in life really are that easy). Matt’s hung them all across Toronto in the hopes of finding something unique once they’re developed. (In that way, they’re more than a bit similar to Posterchild’s “Take a Photo, Leave a Photo” boxes from last year.) Some photos, Matt says, are straight-on self-portraits, some shots are of scenery and places, some are candid snaps of passersby. And of course, some people (eight) have disobeyed step two. But regardless of result, the purpose of the photos, according to Matt, is to create a collective scrapbook of our divers-city. “I think Toronto is a small enough city that people can feel a strong link with the different areas,” he told us last week. “It’s a very voyeuristic thing, but people like looking at other people, especially when people are being themselves.”
And that, in our opinion, is what makes the project cool—pure, unabashed voyeurism, be it Matt’s or our own. Facebook, reality TV, the apartment across the street through binoculars (er…just kidding), voyeurism is engrained in every aspect of our culture, and it’s here to stay. But what might not be? Matt’s cameras. So go show yourself off, you superstar—the open-concept photobooth locations are all pinpointed on takepicturedontsteal.com.