Since 1991 I have converted rooms into Camera Obscuras in order to photograph the strange and delightful meeting of the outside world with the room’s interior.
In an effort to find new ways to use this technique, I have worked with my assistant, C.J. Heyliger, on designing a light proof tent which can project views of the surrounding landscape, via periscope type optics, onto the surface of the ground inside the tent. Inside this space I photograph the sandwich of these two outdoor realities meeting on the ground. Depending on the quality of the surface, these views can take on a variety of painterly effects. The added use of digital technology on my camera lets me record visual moments in a much shorter time frame– for instance I can now get clouds and people to show up in some of the photographs.
This way of observing the landscape with specially equipped tents was practiced by some artists in the 19th century in order to trace on paper what they saw in the landscape. Interestingly, this approach to picturing the land was done even before the invention of photography.