Saturday, February 24, 2007

floating world

the ODD gallery has unlocked the camera obscura, down on the river bank. though it's very chilly in there, once your eyes adjust to the dim light, the effect is beautiful: Dawson floating, upside-down, across three white walls of the small cabin. the snow is particularly beautiful on the ceiling, as it looks like a pale blue sky with clouds.
the "camera" is a box (in this case, the cabin) with a pinhole in one wall. with mirrors, you can create a camera obscura that projects the image right-way-up, though in Dawson the box is the simplest kind...apparently if you spend an hour or two in there looking at the walls, your mind will eventually flip the image for you. the technique was known in antiquity, described by Leonardo da Vinci, and some scholars argue that Dutch artists like Vermeer used such a camera to study detail.
i've read the explanation on how it works...but really i think the camera obscura is magic.

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