Camera obscura


A typical pose for me: camera in hand

Today’s topic: Can a camera truly capture a moment in time when it is unable to capture itself or its user in that moment?

I think it can, and as for the rest of the question, why would the camera need to capture “itself” or the “user” in that moment? I don’t think that is the point. The image the camera is to capture is an interpretation by the user, and the camera itself is the means by which that interpretation is captured as an image.

The emotion a good photographer can “capture” on film is there just as plainly as something tangible is. Those are the photos that win prizes, and that is what those of us who strive to be successful photographers try to achieve.

The principles behind a camera obscura are attributed to an ancient Chinese philosopher, who described his invention as a “locked treasure room,” among other things. An exotic, but intriguing, idea. A modern camera could be seen as a room or box filled with treasures, or at least a doorway to a treasure of images, just waiting to be captured.

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2 thoughts on “Camera obscura

  1. I completely agree. When you see Matthew Brady’s photos of the Civil War, you cannot help but be moved by the pain and devastation of the time. When you see Ansel Adam’s photos, you are struck by the beauty of a scene. During developing, Ansel was known for dodging and burning to focus attention on specific areas in the shots. So, that is not how the scene really looked, but as you noted, that the what the photographer saw in his mind’s eye.

    That being said, I do like these types of photos where we see the person capturing the scene. I suppose Hal took this shot for us? I’m glad.

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