The Empire State Building in Bedroom, New York, NY, 1994 (c) Abelardo Morell

Abelardo Morell’s 2004 book Camera Obscura (ISBN 0-8212-7751-0 Bullfinch Press) is a delight to sit with, open across your lap, enjoying the wonderful pictures. Morell thanks his son, Brady, for making him play again. And these photographs are just that, a talented worker having a ton of fun pointing his camera at the amusing juxtoposition of random rooms bathed in the projection of what lies outside; whether they be significant buildings or empty coastlines, spun upside down and dimly splashed across old, bare walls and plush, well furnished interiors.

The project is a simple concept, photographing the image projected by a camera obscura, effectively standing ‘inside the camera’  and observing its magic. Morell entered private houses and apartments, hotels, boardrooms and vacant buildings, blacked out the windows and doors, made the necessary pinhole to the outside world and then opened the shutter of his own camera, often making exposures of over eight hours, pointed into the dark space.

While this could quickly become a repetative, one trick pony project if clumsily handled, Morell succeeds through his stunning use of elements both inside and outside, melded together.

I adore the Empire State Building laid out across the bed, and the  grain silos in Akron blending into the striped wallpaper; their sides punctured by the mirror with its lamp shadow and low buildings, otherwise unseen.

Grain Silos in Room with Mirror, Akron OH, 2000 (c) Abelardo Morell

One Response to Camera Obscura

  • Laily says:

    You’d think the illusion / image would work betetr in colour, wouldn’t you.? I guess that there are technical difficulties with colour at these very long exposures.The’d make mind blowing pictures if colour were possible though!

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