Friday, 23 January 2009

Just a Pin Prick

Scott McMahon's collection of pinhole cameras (

Geddes and the art of seeing...
Patrick Geddes bought part of the old Edinburgh School of Art in 1892 and converted the building into the Outlook Tower, a place which was supposed to enliven the minds of the people of Edinburgh and give them a new outlook of their town through the use of the camera obscura.
Now, my friend Kam Chan made the most beautiful pinhole cameras for her degree show last year and throughout the show she took photographs with them and developed them for display. Even though she is my friend and I’m baise, it was still one of my favourite pieces in the whole show. So, while Kam spent a year making really professional looking pinhole cameras to very great effect, I’ve never made one...unless you include using a colander to look at an eclipse when I was a kid. Hundreds of tiny little crescent moons with the giant shape of a colander surrounding it. Nice.
The principal of both the camera obscura and the pin hole camera is that within a darkened chamber a tiny hole lets through enough light to converge on a backing to create an image. The part of the lecture which I found really interesting was about the distortions caused used a stereoscope, which creates two imaged that when layered creates a more three dimensional image, adding more information therefore more depth.
Try this wiki one by moving a little bit further back than normal and try to refocus so the two images become three and the centre image kind of pops out...just go cross eyed.

Anyway, the reason I found this both interesting and really bloody hard is because I actually have a convergance problem with my eyes. Which means I have trouble with double vision caused by something in part of my brain, thus I have a poorer ability to focus my eyes. As a treatment for this, my optician (my dad who’s just drawn a mass of scribbled diagrams to explain this all to me in a little more detail) had me doing excercises when I was a bit younger which involved me sitting in front of a computer with glasses with one red and one blue lense and then I’d have to make two squares on the right and left converge in the centre.

Not only did I look like muppet, but I didn’t really take it seriously and this is where I’m really glad I went to this lecture today because image is a huge part of my Masters project. Because I wasn’t taken seriously and was vain enough to feel stupid in the glasses, I stopped myself from improving. Just the way people do with dyslexia treatments. The way I did with my colourimetry specs.

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