Sunday, August 31, 2014

Camera Obscura & History of Photography at Willowbrook Museum

I was asked to give a talk on the early history of photography and the pinhole camera at Willowbrook Museum in Newfield Maine (, on August 16th & 17th.  I thought an interesting way to enter into the discussion would be through the visual demonstration of the camera obscura.  The Museum Director agreed to letting my husband, Paul, & me turn the museum's historic ballroom into a giant camera obscura.  It tok quite a bit of doing, blacking out 10 large widows and 2 doors (all with great care, so as not to damage anything).  The end result was a grand success. Young and old visitors all loved it, and photography became alive for them as cars drove across the ceiling and the world walked by on the wall upside-down.  And somehow it made sense to talk about history in the dark.  For researching the past all begins with looking into blackness, and an image only develops through the process of research and understanding. 

Unfortunately this opportunity arose with only enough time for me to put it all together.  So I did not have enough time to prepare for photographing the event.  But I did manage to take a couple of pinhole photographs of some of the old photographic equipment in the ballroom.

Show at Willowbrook Museum

To coincide with my camera obscura demonstration and historical talk on the birth of photography, my work was on display at Willowbrook Museum from  August 16th thru October 5th.  My pinhole photographs looked right at home in the early 19th century setting.

Summer After Graduate School

After graduating, my focus was initially quite scattered.  In a way that was good, because I tried photographing many types of things.  But unfortunately the process of primitive photography requires quite a bit of focus, so despite many photographic attempts my summer resulted in limited success.