Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dark Room with a View

I  have been working on a course that I am developing: The History of Photography. My research began with the camera obscura. I am amazed by the amount of information that I was able to gather on the internet and never leave my chair

 All this research got me thinking about the wonder of this simple  and revolutionary device  that was developed during the Renaissance. Camera obscura - literally, a dark room - that light enters and through a pinhole (aperture) and an inverted image is projected on the opposite wall.  This is the basis of all cameras. Artists and astronomers used the camera obscura as a viewing aid  over 200 years before the invention of photography in 1839.

Now,  I am inspired to make a camera obscura. I have worked with a pinhole camera; it's the same concept - only much smaller. I have never transformed a room into a camera. I chose the bathroom of my apartment. I covered the window with black foil and cut  a dime- sized hole from the foil, blocked any light that could leak around the door frame, closed the door and sat in the darkness, waited for the magic image to appear and ...nothing, just a vague spot of light. It was a gray day and there was not enough light. For the next two rainy days I visited  my bathroom / camera obscura and stared at the wall ....nothing.

This morning was bright and sunny. I entered again, sat and waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark. There it was!  The Williamsburgh Savings Build was projected upside down on my bathroom wall!  To me this is truly a marvel!