19 October 2013

Camera obscura

It helps to have a bright sunny day (via)
Camera obscura - darkened rooms that give views of the outside world - have long fascinated me, and I've visited many (Edinburgh, Bristol, and Eger, Hungary among them), and would love to step inside one of those built by Chris Drury, cloud chamber, star chamber, sky chamber.... 
Chris Drury's Wave Chamber in Kielder Forest, and how it works (via)
In the 19th century, fashionable homes had a small camera obscura, like that at The Vyne, and they were a useful tool for artists before the age of photography.
It helps to have a bright sunny day (via)
Artists continue to use the camera obscura, darkening a room and making a pinhole to project light, upside down, onto a convenient wall, or onto photographic film. Examples include Zoe Leonard at Camden Arts Centre and Hannah Leighton in Cloth & Memory.
Zoe Leonard's ephemeral panorama, Observation Point
Hannah Leighton's Windowless Shed, a series of camera obscura
In photography the pinhole camera is a version of camera obscura - in fact any camera is - but some photographers go the whole nine miles and use darkened rooms to capture images, or build specially large cameras on site. One of the former is Edgar Lissel (who has now moved to the other end of the scale with "microbial" photography); one of the latter is Richard Learoyd, whose cameras produce unique gelatin silver contact prints of the English countryside, up to 80 inches wide.

Furniture blocks the light in Edgar Lissel's obscured rooms
Unique prints by Richard Learoyd (from the video here, which also shows
the portable room he uses as a camera)

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