Introduction to Camera Obscura

What an exciting new project and yet another stimulating activity. In preparation for this project, I researched the following artists: Abelardo Morell, Maciej Markowicz, Marja Pirila, Vera Lutter, Richard Learoyd, Thomas Bachler, Nick Marshall, and Steven Pippin. I was particularly inspired and impressed by the work of Morell, Pippin, and Pirila. I am confident I will return to examine their work repeatedly.

The space of a narrowboat is a complicated one when it comes to creating Camera Obscura, mainly because it is essentially one room, fifteen meters long. Additionally, there is not a suitable view for the project, all boats in the marina all aligned parallel to one another, so I was slightly worried about constructing my darkroom. Nevertheless, I got all the materials together and decided to do my best. I taped, covered in cardboard, stuffed with scarfs, pillows, blankets, and curtains. After an hour, I accomplished the blackout of the room as much as I considered physically possible in an inconvenient space of the boat. One more grand restriction in my way, it rained all day. The weather forecast was to shower for a whole week, so one of the most crucial elements for producing a successful image with Camera Obscura – sunlight, was and will be missing for days.
Determined to see it to the end with some results, as tutors keep encouraging us, that it’s more about the process than the final effect as such, I continued my adventure with light and darkness.
To my best ability, I blocked out all the sources of light and followed the instructions from a Youtube video. I also watched some supplementary ones linked to Camera Obscura.

I found this helpful tutorial online,

Et voila! Our bedroom is no more, welcome to the Camera Obscura!

I encountered a predicament while shooting, the inability to focus in complete darkness. I set a shutter speed of 30 and the maximum ISO 3200 on my camera, indicated online as the best settings for this assignment. I focused randomly and took several shots using a tripod. I achieved some results, and I am pleased that I managed to create images. Regrettably, because of poor weather, I did not get a lot of light coming in, so I decided to leave the room as it was and return to it tomorrow to attempt again.

I was surprised that one photograph developed with a red circle. After investigation, I concluded that it was the camera’s timer as there were no other light sources in the room.

The following day the weather was slightly more beneficial, still no sign of essential sunlight, but at least it stopped raining, which meant more favorable light. Consequently, the Camera Obscura images came out slightly improved and sharper. I was pleased that I strived to produce more images the next day, as I am much more content with the results on the second trial. I learned to persevere and not get unmotivated if pictures are not exactly how I anticipated them to be. There is always time and will to try again, put work in till I am satisfied with the outcome.

Published by Elzbieta Skorska

My name is Elzbieta Skorska. I am a second-year photography student degree at MMU.

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