Building Camera Obscura at Home
Inspired by the Gerhard Richter film the other night, I got up this morning, determined to make some wet plate images larger than this 8×10 inch Deardorff would produce. I kept thinking back to this Camera Obscura that we saw at The Cliff House in San Francisco, maybe twenty years ago. Also, I just saw that Vimeo feature on Ian Ruhter; very ballsy and courageous.
I have these two adjoining rooms in my house, with a connecting doorway. One room is my office, and the other room is, well, I’m not sure what it is. It’s just another room in the house. So I took 4×8′ sheets of Foamcore, and started blacking out the doorway, and cut a circle in it for the lens to stick through. The office became the “inside of the camera”, and the other room became the “studio”. There’s another 4×8′ Foamcore in the office that acts like a “enlarging easel”; the image from the lens in the doorway is projected onto the Foamcore. If this works, I’ll make a wooden roll around easel with tiny roach clips on it, to hold the metal “film” in place.
My lens is too short, so it makes the subject be VERY close to the lens. Will need a much longer lens at some point. So, I either shoot people very close to the lens, or I build tiny miniature villages in front of the lens, if I want to do landscapes. I realized that I don’t even need a camera; I just need to cover the doorway with plywood, and cut a hole out for the lens.
But for only being Day One, I’m pretty excited. The projected image of the mannequin head is about 30″x40″ at this point. An f3 lens, the depth of field is like one half of an inch, but maybe with Waterhouse Stops, I can stop it down, and maybe use Strobe to light it, and gain a tad more focus depth.
The metal plate, as a final image, would be shown as a 1/1, like a painting. No computers; no copies; no editions.
Very exciting times…