BEGIN Camera Obscura | Corina's Corner

Camera Obscura


This week in my Photography class we turned our classroom into a camera, or rather a camera obscura. A camera is a light-tight box with a hole. The hole lets light, that has reflected off of an object, into the box. Since light can only travel in a straight line, the image that appears inside the light-tight box appears upside-down. Our cameras then take the light, or the image that is let in, and captures it with a sensor, or with film.

To make this happen inside a room, you need to seal off any light that could enter. You need to block all of the windows, and turn off all of the lights. After this has been done, make a small opening on the window (the smaller the hole, the sharper the image), and the view outside will appear on the opposite wall, upside-down.

There is one photographer, who I have recently come across, who is really talented at making camera obsucras, and he makes them in the coolest places. His name is Abelardo Morell, here are a few examples of his work:

Ours wasn't nearly as impressive as his, but it was still an amazing sight. There are huge windows in our classroom so we covered them in black plastic, covered the window on the door to our room, covered up the emergency light (don't worry we were all safe, there were no emergencies), and the exit lights. In the plastic on the window we cut a hole. Here is what we could see looking out of the hole:

When we first showed the students, there was a four inch hole cut in the plastic. Because it was such a big hole, the image wasn't super sharp, but it did allow a lot of light in so you could see it on the walls of the classroom.

Then we showed them what it looked like with a small hole; a much sharper image. We had each of them come close to the hole and look, while holding up a piece of paper. I took this picture while we had a sheet set up:

If you compare this picture to the view out of the pinhole, you can see what was being projected into the room. I really like how you can see the colors, the red cars really stand out, and I like how if you look closely you can tell that there is a blue sky and green leaves. I love that there was a beautiful tree right outside the window, so we had something interesting to project.

I can now say that I have been INSIDE of a camera!


  1. Well this just kind of blows my mine...I think I'll be thinking about this for some time yet (until I figure it out, dangit!).

    Cool idea :)

  2. So cool! I bet your students loved it and care a lot more about it now!


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