Capturing Life with the Camera Obscura

One semester: 3 studio credits
The Latin words “camera” and “obscura” used together describe a darkened vaulted chamber or room. A camera obscura is a darkened space where a small beam of reflected light from the outside world projects that light as an image in the space. The principle of the camera obscura dates to about 450 BCE when Mozi, a Chinese philosopher, referred to the device as a “locked treasure room.” This course is designed to unlock those treasures. Students will learn to build their own camera obscura using a variety of materials and objects to view and capture these images through drawing and various photographic means. Through experimentation and the referencing of the historical works of Caravaggio, Vermeer, and others, students will develop an understanding of the camera obscura and its possibilities. Using their own device and a combination of photographic papers and films, digital capture and hand drawing, students will develop a portfolio of images unique to the camera obscura.

Visual & Critical Studies