Camera Obscura: The Pantheon in Albergo Del Sole al Pantheon room #111, Rome, Italy 2008
The camera obscura was one of the first inventions that led to the discovery of photography. It is an optical device that was used as an aid for drawing and represents the first cinematic concepts. The basic notion is that light passing through a single hole will project the image of what the light touches on an opposite wall. The history and evolution of the camera obscura is intricate. Greek philosopher Aristotle and Chinese philosopher, Mozi were the first to experiment with such image projecting concepts. They helped pave the way for Iraqi scientist, Ibn al-Haitham who in fact built the very first camera obscura in the early 1000s AD. Today fine art photographers incorporate these early image capturing concepts into their contemporary work by using pinhole cameras or constructing their own (quite simple) camera obscuras.
Cuban artist, Abelardo Morell is one such photographer. Traveling to various cities around the world, he books hotel rooms overlooking beautiful cityscapes. He transforms his room itself into a camera obscura and projects the outside world into his temporary abode. The finished piece is a photograph of these projections in which he has optically woven the inside with the outside. Morell is currently a professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art.
Camera Obscura: View of Central Park Looking North – Summer 2008