About this artwork
The principle of the camera obscura (Latin for “dark room”) has been known since ancient Greek and Roman times: light passing through a small aperture in a dark chamber will project an upside-down, reversed image of the scene outside. The basis for all lens-based images, the camera obscura can be a room or a small, hand-held box—today’s camera.
Abelardo Morell used the camera obscura in his teaching, and in 1991 he began photographing the strange juxtapositions that occurred when the outside world was projected onto a domestic interior. He covered the windows of the chosen room with black plastic and poked a 3/8-inch hole in the material, placing a view camera inside to document the image that came through. The exposure took six to eight hours, eliminating all moving things from the scene and rendered objects that moved even slightly as a blur. In addition to making a number of choices to shape the relationship between interior and exterior—selecting the room, the view, and the position of the pinhole—Morell also often rearranges furniture and smaller objects in a given scene, so these seemingly natural photographs are in fact highly constructed.
In more recent years, Morell began making camera obscura photographs in color, incorporating technical refinements that allow him to correct the projection’s orientation and shorten the exposure time to capture particular qualities of light.
Currently Off View
- Abelardo Morell
- Camera Obscura: The Piazzetta San Marco Looking Southeast in Office, Venice, Italy
- United States
- Made 2007
- Inkjet print, artist's proof 1
- 77 × 61 cm (image); 97.6 × 81.3 cm (paper)
- Gift of the artist in memory of David Feingold
- © Abelardo Morell, courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.