The Camera as Architecture: Re-imagining the camera as a sculpture.

Camera Obscura, 1096 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco
amera Obscura, San Francisco.

I have been recently thinking about the camera and my relationship with place. As I move through places with a camera looking for things to photograph I am beginning to think that it is the camera itself that is a major part of this Phd journey. I have experimented with the pinhole camera and camera obscuras, but the next step is to explore the camera obscura further via the production of images captured in a variety of buildings. Eventually I plan to build walk-in cameras, but for the moment I will transform rooms in everyday houses and commercial buildings into a camera where I will produce video and still images. I’m not sure what I am looking for, but the work is telling me to push in this direction, to make the camera the viewer and to see what the camera saw, to be inside the camera. I am particularly interested in how the camera might sit within the landscape as both imaging device, dwelling and sculpture.

I am in search of the past in the present, or is it a case of searching for something lost, an auratic presence of a past long gone? A world of machines and tactile experiences that is vanishing like the ruins of an ancient civilization. Could it be that certain places are ‘loaded’ or ‘charged’ by the events and people that have passed through or inhabited the space? Can that energy or ‘sense of the moment’ be fixed within the frame of an image, trapping it like fruit in gelatine?
Or is it the act of transforming buildings into cameras that will enable to see (photographically), the traces of the past?


I am currently looking at the work of Edgar Lissel who works exclusively with pinhole cameras and heritage media. You may also like to read Edgar Lisel: Picture Rooms. I am also investigating the work of Abelardo Morell (see above) whose photographic practice is centred around transforming rooms into  camera obscuras that mesh both the interior and exterior worlds.

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Another interesting interpretation of pinhole photography can be seen in the work of Stephen Berkman who explores the world of pre-chemical photography.

Ms. Yekaterinburgh: Camera Obscura Dress Tent from Robin Lasser on Vimeo.

Other works of interest include Ms. Russia: Camera Obscura Dress Tent at City Hall, San Jose, USA and Church On The Blood, Yekaterinburg, Russia,
Robin Lasser + Adrienne Pao.


~ by Dean on August 2, 2014.

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