Camera Obscura: View of Central Park Looking North, 2008 – Autumn [above] + Summer view [below]. Extreme love! Image © Abelardo Morell.

View of the Manhattan Bridge on April 30th 2010 – Afternoon and Night. Image © Abelardo Morell.

Series of camera obscuras throughout Europe. Images © Abelardo Morell.

Hope you guys are in the mood for some mind-bending images? What’s new, I hear you say. Well, I guess you have a point – you’re on yellowtrace after all. Hooray!

I’ve been meaning to post about camera obscura technique for ages now. Sometimes I can’t keep up with myself, let alone everything else. So much amazing content, so little time. Anyway, camera obscura (in Latin – ‘camera’ = vaulted chamber or room; ‘obscura’ = dark) is an optical device that projects an image of surrounds on a screen. This is, in fact, one of the inventions which lead to photography. Camera obscura device typically consists of a box with a whole in one side. However, with these images I am showing you today, the ‘box’ is in fact an entire room. What are you talking about, I hear you say? If you have the patience, why don’t you try it at home for yourself. (Note – you will need to do this in a room which has a bright view to the outside). What you do is this:

STEP 1. Cover your window with a very dark shade (ideally velvet, or another heavy fabric/ solid material).
STEP 2. Make a pinhole in the fabric (I know what you are thinking – as if I you are going to cut a hole in a velvet curtain. Fair enough. But just go along for the sake of the exercise.)
STEP 3. An image of the outside scenery will be reflected directly on the opposite wall, but it will be upside-down.
STEP 4. Pour yourself a drink and enjoy the trip.

Otherwise you can do the same thing using a dark box. Cool, huh? And since I am too lazy to try this out (my excuse is that I have way too much blogging to do these days), can someone try it and let me know how you went? Excellent!

Shown here is the work of Cuban born Abelardo Morell [above], Brazilian artist Pablo Saborido [below] and James Nizam who is a Vancouver based artist that works with soon to be demolished homes [also below].


Above images © Pablo Saborido.

Above images © James Nizam who works with soon to be demolished homes.


[Images via Abelardo Morell, Pablo Saborido & Gallery Jones.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

5 Responses

  1. Dave

    This isn’t what it would actually look like in a camera obscura, which distorts the image by spreading out the edges more and more the further out you go. That’s presuming you have a flat wall opposite the pinhole. You can draw little diagrams to see why that would be. You can fix this by making your camera obscura with a spherical room, not unlike an eyeball. Also camera obscuras are really, really dim.

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