w01 Camera Obscura

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w01 Camera Obscura

Post by glegrady » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:02 pm

Research and report on what you find about camera obscuras, past & present. Include reference links, and pix
George Legrady

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w01 Camera Obscura-Catherine Li

Post by catiee55 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:39 pm

Used as a source of entertainment, toy, and documentation, camera obsura is one of the first known devices that led to photography. The device is used to project surrounding images and consists of a blacked out room or box with a hole on one side. The projection of the photo appears upside-down due to the process of how the light goes through the hole and hits a surface. Even though visually the photo is seen as upside-down, the scene would still maintain detail and color. Later in the 18th century the use of mirrors helped turn the scene right side up. Many camera obsura users began using the device as a way to trace images and began to experiment on how to contribute focus and aperture. When the pinhole is made smaller the image becomes focused and when using a lenses rather than a pinhole the device includes aperture.

With years of research on how light travels the camera obsura was known since the time of Aristotle. Some even say it was used in the Stone Age creating cave art. In the 10th century scholar AL Hassan used the device as a demonstration on how light travels. Then in the 13th century astronomers used it to view the sun. Later on to present day the device is used for artist who touch on the subject on perspective or who just do it for fun. Over the years many artists have taken on the task to perfect the device. Louis Daguerre and William Fox Talbot created the first device that took the first photographs.

http://camera-obscura.co.uk/camera_obsc ... istory.asp
http://www.photography.com/articles/his ... a-obscura/
http://www.optics.arizona.edu/SSD/art-o ... bscura.jpg
http://www.courierpress.com/news/2010/n ... rspective/
Central Park
13th century

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by ellencampbell » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:49 pm

The camera obscura is a relatively basic device, in terms of design, that lead to great innovations. Using basic principles of physics, the camera obscura uses the light it receives to reflect and flip an image of whatever the user directs it in front of. Starting in the sixteenth century, it was used by artists, such as Giovanni Canaletto, to create a realistic illustration. Artists could use the reflected image to their advantage by tracing all the details of complex scenes. Thus, they created accurate and believable images in perfect perspective. Cityscapes and natural landscapes were common subjects to artists utilizing the camera obscura.


Aside from being a revolutionary drawing tool, the camera obscura was also useful in the area of science. For instance, the device allowed astronomers to make solar observations without damaging their eyes like the telescope did. In fact, the camera obscura is still a popular tool for people to study solar eclipses today.

Priniples of camera obscura are seen in modern technology. Today’s cameras look at the same rules of science to create a mirrored replica of reality but contain a light sensitive plate not seen in the camera obscura. In addition, this device can still be used as a tool for learning about simple scientific principles. The camera obscura contains a simple design and inexpensive materials, so people can learn through the creation of their own camera obscura. Also, many artists and amateurs alike prefer a more traditional approach to photography. They are able to play with and alter the technology behind the camera obscura to suite their creative ideas.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/em ... a_01.shtml
http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_we ... art-2.html

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by michaeld.johnsoncst » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:00 pm

Moving past what has been said here already, I want to talk about some of the controversies (and to a certain extent, conspiracy theories) surrounding the use of the camera obscura.


The english contemporary painter David Hockney has claimed that some of the most respected Old Masters may have used camera obscuras (and later camera lucidas) to assist in their near photorealistic paintings. Among Hockney's accused are Vermeer, Velasquez, Raphael and others.

(A Vermeer piece theorized to have been done using a camera obscura)

While Hockney makes the claim that the use of such a device doesn't diminish the work of the Old Masters, many art historians disagree. Susan Sontag, for example, had this to say on the subject: "If David Hockney's thesis is correct, it would be a bit like finding out that all the great lovers of history have been using Viagra."

(Hockney using his own camera obscura)

Sontag has also gone on to attack Hockney's motivations for such research: "What David Hockney does is start from the position of a practicing artist. 'I couldn't draw like that.' Therefore the presumption is they couldn't do it."

For the large part, as the argument stands now, Hockney's claims are disregarded.

http://www.essentialvermeer.com/camera_ ... o_one.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/ph ... 030220.htm

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by goldgills » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:13 pm

As I was doing research I stumbled upon an interesting story of a once renounced photographer who spent his last living days in a camera obscura. Henri D'Aquin was the man who lived this way. He used a little light that came in through the window to try and capture an image of his love's soul, Black Marina. He tried to prove her existence to the world, and also to himself.


In Latin Camera Obscura means 'a dark room,' and here is a video giving step by step on how to transform a room into a camera obscura. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvWX6-0_ ... r_embedded

The Camera Obscura was invented centuries ago to aid artists with their work, and George T. Keene builds, designs, and installs custom camera obscuras to help aid artists by bringing the outside inside.

In the 19th century the camera obscura room was used for entertainment and educational purposes, but a few used it differently. The device was used as a way to see without being seen. Some would use it to spy, such as children who would later surprise their parents with knowledge of their activities.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvWX6-0_ ... r_embedded
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2rq05e/ww ... tion.html/
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/9MajxK/ow ... 139817141/

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by wangqian321 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:06 pm

The camera obscura is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen. It is used in drawing and for entertainment, and was one of the inventions that led to photography. Aristotle described the phenomenon back in the fourth century B.C.Leonardo in Renaissance Italy sketched the process. In Coney Island and other 19th-century seaside resorts, tourists lined up to see the magical results.
Shift to a Boston classroom, the year 1988. Cuban-born Abelardo Morell, teaching an introductory photography course at an art college, was curious to step back in time. On a sunny day, he covered the classroom windows with black plastic, making the space as dark as a cave, cut a dime-size hole in the material, and told his students to watch. Almost instantly the back wall came alive like a movie screen, its surface covered with a fuzzy image of people and cars moving along Huntington Avenue outside. Then the double take: The image was upside down, sky on floor, ground on ceiling, the laws of gravity seemingly gone haywire.

“I made my first picture using camera obsura techniques in my darkened living room in1991. In setting a room to make this kind of photograph, I cover all windows with black plastic in order to achieve total darkness. Then, I cut a small hole in the material I use to cover the windows. This allows an inverted image of the view outside to flood onto the walls of the room. I would focus my large-format camera on the incoming image on the wall and expose the film. In the beginning, the exposures took five to ten hours. Over time, this project has taken me from my living room to all sorts of interiors around the world.” His views range from brazen New York City panoramas to warm Italian vistas.
thover_camera20thover_bostons-custom-house.jpg (19.11 KiB) Viewed 6320 times
A few years ago he switched to color, enjoying its intensity, and began turning images right-side up with a prism.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/ ... neill-text
http://www.abelardomorell.net/photograp ... sc_20.html

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by rjliang » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:47 pm

As a predecessor of the photographic camera, the camera obscura consists of a dark chamber and a tiny hole to project an inverted image of the outside scene. This technique was, at first, utilized for viewing eclipses of the Sun without damaging the eyes--a principle introduced by Aristotle, but soon became a popular and often portable drawing aid in the 16th century for notable artists, such as Canaletto and Francesco Guardi. In 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce introduced a light-sensitive plate to the camera obscura, and thus, produced the first photographic image, which he referred to as a heliograph. This fascinating idea of replicating reality eventually led to the increase in size of the surface on which an image was to be projected. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was not unusual to see that entire rooms were made into camera obscuras. Although, by the end of the 20th century, the popularity of the camera obscura had significantly decreased, modern day artists, such as Abelardo Morell, continue to make use of the camera obscura technique in creative ways. Overall, the camera obscura not only assisted artists in their approaches to realism in painting, but also led to the invention of the photographic camera.

http://www.essentialvermeer.com/glossar ... RA_OBSCURA
http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinv ... graphy.htm

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by mel.weismann » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:46 pm

This video clip, from the BBC’s show “Genius of Photography”, shows Abelardo Morell demonstrating how he and his assistants set up a room-size camera obscura in Venice:



Room-size camera obscuras in California - these are all places that you could go and visit on a weekend trip.

- Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles - there is a tube/tower on the roof of the observatory that projects views of the Hollywood hills downward onto a circular table below; the lens rotates a full 360 degrees, so the viewer can see a full panoramic image if they watch the image for a while.

- Senior Recreation Center, Santa Monica - with this very old camera obscura turret, the viewer can control the position of the lens using a ‘steering wheel’. This particular camera was given to the city of Santa Monica in 1907 and still works well.

- Giant Camera, San Francisco - this camera obscura overlooks the ocean; the building which houses it is shaped like a 35mm film camera. (The concave shape of the projection table helps to make the image more focused across its entire surface.)

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by martincastro » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:52 pm

While researching the camera obscura a lot of the sources do not really explain the science behind why or how a camera obscura actually works. They usually just propose that light shoots through the hole and the image from the outside magically appears inverted on the wall in the inside of the room. I wanted to know why this phenomenon happens. So I did some research, found some analogies, and will attempt to explain why the image appears.
The first thing to understand is that light travels in a straight line for the most part (take into consideration that everything I’m explaining is referring to how things behave normally in a camera obscura not in other extreme environments). So imagine yourself in a dark room with a friend outside holding a flashlight. When a small hole is created on one of the walls, your friend will be able to shine some light in through the hole creating a dot of light on the opposite wall inside of the room. Your friend can shine the light through at different angles and the dot of light on the inside will move around according to the angle in which your friend is shining the light. So when the hole is aimed outside toward a landscape, all the points of the scene are emitting light and, just like the flashlight, the beams of light from outside are shining in creating a point of light on the back wall. The difference is that the light is shinning through from all the different angles, not just one angle like the flashlight.
The reason the image is inverted and reversed is because the light reflecting off the object outside travels from the top through the hole to the bottom of the wall, vice-versa, and side-to-side. This can be observed in any of the basic camera obscura illustrations. The reason the image and color appears is because objects absorb all the color waves except the ones we see them as. So a red apple is red because it absorbs all colors except red. So when light reflects off the object and passes through the hole, it reflects the colored light that the object is naturally reflecting. The image is thus created by all the points of reflected light being focused through the hole and recreated on the opposite wall on the inside of the dark room.
Hope this helps to better understand the magic of the camera obscura.

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Re: w01 Camera Obscura

Post by mogle09 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:11 pm

Precursor to the modern camera, the camera obscura, is a light-tight device with a small hole on one side. The hole enables light to pass through, and an image to be reproduced upside down. Rather then using just a hole, a lens is often added to create a more focused image.
In the past, artist used the camera obscura as a tool to capture difficult scenes in a realistic manner. Contemporary artists take advantage of the way in which the camera obscura allows the living world to be projected on a surface plane. Many contemporary artists use the camera obscura in innovative ways. Today, the camera obscura seems like such a simple device, but artists are able to take something which seems so elementary and transform it into something extremely innovative.
Through the use of a camera obscura, artist Abelardo Morell, is able to transform interior spaces. Morell is able to turn a room into a camera. For example, in his piece, Camera Obscura Image of Houses Across the Street in Our Bedroom, he captures and inverted image of the street onto his bedroom wall.
Another contemporary artist, Maggie Ross, also uses camera obscura. She states that her camera obscura installations “explore the inextricable link between the spaces we inhabit and the surrounding environment, as well the relationships between architecture, landscape, and the human body." Unlike Morell’s use of camera obscura, Ross’ use of the camera obscura is more interactive. Viewers are able to experience the inverted images projected onto their own bodies. People are also able to become part of the projected images by standing outside of the installation, therefore becoming what is being projected.
Another artists, Shi Guorui, works with camera obscura to create large scale photographs. Guorui chooses iconic locations to photograph, such as The Great Wall, Mount Everest, and Hong Kong. In some of his earlier works, Guorui uses already existing buildings as his camera. But in his more recent work, such as his work capturing Mount Everest, he constructed his own camera obscura. Guorui removes activity from his images providing the viewer with a “surreal vision.” Guoriui told the New York Times that “early on [he] was interested in these technical details, but what’s important to [him] now is the process.” It is his interest in the process of creating an image that has lead him to become such a great photographer.
It’s amazing to think how far the camera has come. Although the camera has advanced throughout the years, many artists continue to use the camera obscura.

http://www.mocp.org/collections/permane ... elardo.php
http://nowherelimited.com/imposing_view ... a_obscura/

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