Denver artists turn camera parts into guns in evocative art installation

DENVER -- Art is meant to send a message, to inspire or to provoke emotions. And inside a Denver metal shop, two artists are doing just that by turning old cameras and photography equipment into sculptures of life-like firearms. 

"The project is called Shoot Portraits not People," photographer Jason Siegel said. 

It started with terminology: Guns shoot, but so do cameras. A lot of the pieces actually look alike. So Siegel partnered with metalworker Keith D'Angelo a year ago and the project was born.

"Everything comes from photography, from the world of photography," D'Angelo said.

Lenses, DSLR cameras, tripods, flashes, and more are welded and screwed together to become rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and more. 

"The crazy thing about it is a lot of people see these and they think they’re guns. Which is kind of what we want," Siegel said.

"Just for someone to see the project and go, 'whoa that's really cool,'" D'Angelo added.

The pair started with a pop-up art show in Aspen a year ago. Now the project has grown to include sculptures and photo prints of grenade launchers, a Gatling gun, and 1950's military jeep with mounted 50 caliber gun, all made from photography pieces. 

"It's art inception. We're taking tools that people know, create a certain type of art... and we’re making an entirely different piece out of it," Siegel said. 

The artists said they're not doing this to take a certain side on the gun debate and they aren't from a certain political viewpoint. They're doing it to send a message. 

"It's crazy the amount of violence that's going on right now and we think it's important that we shed light on that," Siegel commented. 

"In the political climate and everything that's happening in the world today, people get it and it really hits home," D'Angelo added.

The art is on display at a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through early December. A portion of the proceeds made from the sculptures and prints will be donated to the Las Vegas Victims Fund, to assist victims and their families of the Las Vegas shooting. 

For more info on the project, head to their website.

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