This post was most recently updated on May 16th, 2023
When people hear epic stories of adventure, insane conspiracies, and near-death experiences, a “Portrait Photographer” isn’t really the first hero that comes to mind. In reality, a Binghamton photographer’s journey would most likely resemble that of the movie Kodachrome.
Kodachrome movie poster
Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, Matt, a worn-out executive, receives an unexpected visit from his father’s nurse in the office one day; he is taken aback. His estranged bad-boy photojournalist father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and wishes to go on a road trip before it’s too late. The journey must be made from New York City to Kansas so they can develop his last rolls of Kodachrome film at the sole surviving lab that still processes this type of film – if not done soon, those moments will vanish forever. (A fantastic movie if you haven’t already, I recommend watching it)
The Birth of a Hero–Camera Head
Camera Head Illustrated by Hiwez
In reality, there can be a lot more to a photographer’s life. At least that is the case of Camera Head–A collection of short stories of the adventures, or perhaps misadventures, of Camera Head. A dim-witted photographer on the never-ending hunt for the perfect photograph.
“Lens Cap” Illustrated by Created by Imrie
Camera Head is your local photographic hero, capturing the highs and lows of his adventures through his unique lens. Slightly dopey and klutzy, this traveling photographer, with his trusty assistant Burger Head, hails from BrokeTown. Sporting his trusty Hawaiian T-shirt, he regularly battles the real-life ups and downs of modern-age portrait photography and content creation.
“30-Day Ban” Illustrated by Joe Holley
With his nemesis Lens Face, the wish dot com version of himself with leeches for arms and a copycat attitude, Camera Head exposes the turbulent yet hilarious world of photography. Many of the misadventures of Camera Head are so fun to follow because they have come from my real-life experiences and adventures while working as a creative portrait photographer.
lens Face in “the Shammy’s” illustrated by Bored to Death
Camera Head will open your eyes to the realities of the world of photography. Whether you have been a photographer for many years or just stumbled across this quirky comic, you’ll soon find out that no day is the same and expect the unexpected as part of the creative process.
The Story Behind Camera Head
Bryan Wark 6 months of Quarantine, self-portrait 2020
Camera Head really stepped into his own in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many people in isolation and limited events occurring, my work as a photographer quickly dried up. I was down to my last roll of toilet paper, and rations ran low. To pass the time, I decided to start documenting the misadventures of photography in a comic book designed for my real life.
A look at Life on the Road 2014
The character Camera Head was originally designed by Joe Holley as a logo for my photography business. However, since then, he has transformed into a full comic series with the assistance of an amazing team of talented graphic artists and cartoonists, such as Joe Holley, Created by Imrie, Hiwez Illustrations, Ronald Wakefield, and Bored to Death. And, of course, my own experiences and wild imagination.
Rendition 1 By Joey Holley the original Camera Head (left). Rendition 2 by Hiwez, Camera head of the comic character (right)
Camera Head also travels with his comrade Burger Head. Burger Head, who has a bit of a mixed personality, represents all the friends I have had adventures with over the years. His cheeseburger head is a dedication to James “Cheeseburger” Tripp, one of my best friends who passed away in 2017 and proudly sported a massive cheeseburger tattoo.
In Memory of James “Cheeseburger” Tripp
Bryan Wark, Fallujah Iraq 2007 (left) – Bryan Wark, Binghamton NY 2023 (right)
After being Medically discharged from the Marine Corps, I Spent much of my early adult life in search of something I couldn’t explain. The never-ending need to do something out of the ordinary fueled a never-ending list of mishaps. Eventually, my Dr did, in fact, explain to me that between PTSD and signs of BPD, the thing I was chasing were manic episodes I was trying to self-medicate with a mix of adrenaline and alcohol. I am now properly medicated and quite enjoy my quiet life as a father. Nonetheless, I was always told I should write a book based on the adventures I got thrown into as a result of my impulsive decisions, and so I did.
BlackOut Illustrated by Bored to Death
As a kid, I always wanted to publish a comic, but much like a photograph compared to a movie, My art style never really moved like the panels of a story. However, with a little help, I finally did it. I reached out to nine graphic designers and illustrators whose work I admired. I was able to turn my Impulsive life adventures as a photographer into an anthology of stories with my artwork standing proudly on the cover.
Camera Head Cover Image by Bryan Wark
Each short story is created by telling a graphic designer a life event and then allowing them to turn it into a short 1-3 page comic. Truthfully It’s like creating an anthology around the cast of a sitcom. Although each artist is given free rein on how grounded the retelling will be to the actual events, each one is inspired by events that actually happened.
Tyler Fish and Bryan Wark Locked in an Attic
From getting locked in a room that had a fake window by an extremely shady director who wouldn’t let anyone leave the production site to getting attacked by an alligator when taking photos of the everglades, surprise sprinkler systems setting off during a groomsmen photoshoot, and bizarre booking requests from Craigslist that actually were for money laundering for a mob bookie. The quirky world of Camera Head and his companions brings the hidden world behind the lens to light.
Illustrated by Ronald Wakefield
There is even a 2-page dedication to the endless amount of cars I have totaled on my way to and from shoots, called the ‘The Ballad of the Trusty Wagon.’ illustrated by Hiwez.
Bryan Wark Flips the car on the way to a photoshoot
Not every story is a jaw-dropping epic adventure but still, a relatable occurrence for most photographers, as shown in this addition to the Camera Head Series “Missing” illustrated by Bored to Death.
Along with the stories themselves being based around true events, there are also plenty of easter eggs hidden along the way, such as the Bunnypeid, inspired by the movie “The Human Centipede.” The Bunnypeid is a tattoo I got during a night of partying and bad decisions during a state of mania. Or the endless supply of single-use combs stuffed away in various rooms of my house from my years of being a school and sports photographer.
Illustrated by Hiwez
A New Perspective
Truthfully one of the huge differences between misfortune and a grand adventure is how you deal with unforeseen circumstances. The day someone accidentally set off the fire sprinklers during a photoshoot for groomsmen I could have let it ruin my day instead I just added to my list of stories to share around the campfire.
Do not Press Illustrated by Joe Holley
Camera Head invites you to experience the thrilling—and sometimes unpredictable—the world of photography. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just starting out, this comic will take your understanding of the art form to new heights. Get ready for wild stories and plenty of surprises along your journey that push you to see the rainbow and magic in everyday happenings!
In the words of Dr. Dennis O’Grady
“Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad—not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life—to keep us moving, to keep us growing, to keep us interested. Imagine life without change. It would be static, boring, dull.” —