The Latin words camera obscura can be roughly translated as darkened room or chamber. A camera obscura is created when a small hole or aperture is made in a darkened space, producing an inverted image of the scene outside onto an opposite surface within.
This phenomenon has helped to prove that light travels in straight lines. A lens is used to increase the brightness and sharpness of the image. Camera obscura have been used as an aid to drawing and, particularly during the Victorian era, a popular form of entertainment.
There are many camera obscura located throughout the world including: Greenwich; Aberystwyth; Bristol; Edinburgh; and further afield in Eger, Hungary; Santa Monica, USA; Havana, Cuba; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Photographers’ Gallery’s camera obscura was developed in collaboration with Tony Willett and Dom Patteson from Amazing Camera Obscura.
Our custom made triplet lens was installed on 6 September 2012 and is now affording a 360 degree vertical ‘slice’ along Ramillies Street up to the sky and back again.