Making a Camera Obscura

The Camera Obscura is an optical device that was essential in the development of the camera and photography.

© 2013 Abe Morell. All rights reserved.
© 2013 Abe Morell. All rights reserved.

When done right creating a room into a camera obscura is an incredible thing.

Abe Morell is one of the top camera obscura makers. He travels around and makes hotel rooms into these beautiful naturally projected works.

Camera Obscura Image of the Eiffel Tower in the Hotel Frantour, 1999. Abelardo Morell
Camera Obscura Image of the Eiffel Tower in the Hotel Frantour, 1999. Abelardo Morell

In his early work he recorded the camera obscura with the use of long exposure black and white film photography. He then started to use the new technologies of digital photography.

Camera Obscura: View of the Manhattan Bridge-April 30th / Afternoon, 2010
Camera Obscura: View of the Manhattan Bridge-April 30th / Afternoon, 2010

He also then started to use lenses and prisms to flip the image and to make it as sharp as possible.

With the work that I am doing on my MA I decided to give it a go. The results weren’t the best. But neither is the view out the window… Its just the rail track and the cranes from all the building sites in Elephant and Castle.

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I need to practice and refine this work so that it creates the colourful and interesting images that Abelardo Morell has achieved.

How to:

It seems pretty simple to make. You black out all the window and other light sources. Then cut a hole in the black out. Play with varying sized holes until you get the image projecting at a good size and sharpness. Add a prism or a lens to sharpen and make the projection as clear as possible.

The key with this is that you need to wait 15-20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the light before you can actually see the outcome.

But, of course it isn’t that easy. It takes a lot of playing around and a completely blacked out room to get the right effect.

Good luck!

Bethvictoria.com

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