Cameron created her own process of making handmade films. She patented her "cinematic paper emulsion" in 2001, a process that combines photos and other paper materials into the material basis for her moving images. The filmmaker positions her work in relation to the other arts, saying that her work explores "the relationship of image to the frame, and the function of the frame within the framework of inter-media." Cameron's intermedial framing of her work extends to her her proprietary process: She places clear 16mm tape over the paper and images she chooses, peels them from their sources, and trims the excess material from the sides. She then prints these strips to film. Cameron has called these strips "soft sculpture," and has crafted stand-alone art objects from them as "fine paper emulsion painting with film," exhibiting them in a manner similar to David Rimmer's filmstrip lightboxes and Paul Sharits's "frozen film" displays. Her first use of paper emulsion technique came in 1979's Newsw, constructed from an issue of Newsweek and various kinds of organic paper. Cameron describes the film's rush of language (we see "OPEC" flash by), image (the American flag, leaf stems, eyes, lips), and texture as a process that binds together the perceptual faculties of viewer and inanimate object: "the film itself is seeing the world. You are seeing the world the film sees."
Cameron continued to expand and refine her paper emulsion techniques. Animation historian Maureen Furniss writes, "In films such as New Moon (1982), Tyger Tyger (1990) and NYC/Joshua Tree (1991), Cameron also employs photocopying, her own live-action imagery, found footage, ink animation on paper, filtered pigment wash (a combination of pigment, paper pulp, and liquid), and other techniques." Tyger Tyger is a "paper film portrait of New York City"--a favorite subject of the filmmaker--that Cameron likens to both sculpture and symphonic music, constructed without frame lines from paper ephemera depicting or relating to the city. Cameron employed her process in an exploration of the physics and perception of light via monochromatic hues in Fauve (1991), which takes its name from the group of early twentieth-century painters who favored bright colors in unconventional combinations in their reductive abstractions.
Jazz Study (2000)