Cirkut cameras were manufactured during the first half of the 20th
century. By and large they were used for portraiture, leaving a vast potential
unexplored. Despite their popularity few historical Cirkut Camera
photography collections exist and little of the work is pursued on a
contemporary basis. Cirkut cameras are bulky and finicky to operate, likely
obstacles to the proliferation of diverse imagery and experimentation. The
Cirkut Camera mechanism was built using slit-scan technology. Modern-day
versions use the same slit-scan technology and are known as rotating or
scanning panorama cameras. They operate like the Cirkut Camera by
pivoting in a circle while film inside travels past a small slit, the shutter,
hence the name slit-scan. Camera rotation and film speed are adjusted for
each lens used. The medium-format camera I use yields a negative 7 inches
up to an entire roll of 220 film for a complete 360-degree photograph.
     Operation remains problematic even with today's versions of the camera.
A number of technical issues confront the photographer using this system
and are borne by recording images in this unusual manner. Manifest to a
greater or lesser extent is a lack of sharpness relative to conventional
cameras where film is held stationary during exposures. Additionally,
throughout each exposure there exists the constant potential for uneven
vertical stripes of density, referred to as banding, and poor resolution all
resulting from the slightest disturbance to the synchronicity between film
speed and camera rotation.
     The camera I work with has no viewing system. Principles of focus differ
from conventional cameras and impinge on recording spatial proximities.
Lens selection is limited to custom-built gears designed for the film drive
mechanism and specific focal lengths at various lens-to-subject distances.
     The work is intuitive; visualizing the boundaries and affectations of a lens
by holding a view in all directions at once and accounting for all the
elements that it contains.
     Testing is necessary to determine recording responses to various
operational adjustments. Changing lenses, removing and installing gears
also requires testing. Gear adjustments are delicate and only a slight error
in pressure renders an outcome unusable.