Camera Obscura

A visit to the Bristol Camera Obscura, with my nephew from Australia. Just like a visit to a darkroom for the first time, the effect of seeing an image emerge from darkness is wondrous.  The experience is somehow even more mysterious when you think about the simplicity of the idea and the straightforwardness of the technology.  The images taken on my iPhone capture images showing partly the distortion of the lens and perhaps exaggerated by the display on a slightly curved table (which may have been intended to reduce lens distortion.  It is not a static image – you can rotate the lens to show different views and people move through the park, clouds scud across the sky and the light changes, it is almost as if the image flows from above and even the intervention of a hand will not prevent the cascade of light. The relationship of the viewer with the image is one of distance and implied power, we can watch their lives and maybe intervene?  It is how the old movies used to show the Gods on Olympus looking into a reflective pool to decide on how to intervene in the lives of petty mortals.

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