Camera in Camera - photographing the room and its view

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Title: Camera in Camera - photographing the room and its view
Authors: Campbell, Hugh
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5869
Date: Apr-2013
Abstract: In his Camera Obscura series, the photographer Abelardo Morrell transforms rooms into cameras and then photographs the transformed space, on whose walls are overlaid images of the world outside, inverted.  These photographs are meditations on the complex relationship between the single room and the camera. As suggested by their shared etymology, both are closed chambers, connected through apertures to the world beyond. But despite their common nature, they can tend to cancel rather than reinforce each other when combined. The open spaces of the landscape and the complexities of the urban scene often seem easier to encompass in a photograph than a single enclosed space. Within the confines of the room, the limitations of the camera's monocular gaze are most keenly felt.  It cannot see what most closely surrounds it. Instead and maybe in compensation its attention often shifts to the view beyond. From Fox Talbot to Kertesz to Wall, there is a rich photographic tradition of registering the view from a room, the window becoming a lens on life outside. However, Morrell turns back from this prospect to register instead the view invading the room. His images gain their power from the interplay between the ordinary intimacy of the interiors of a hotel room, a child's bedroom, an attic and the expansive drama of the views playing on their surfaces. The two realms are co-extensive, so much so that is often hard to know where one ends and the other begins. As at the studiolo in Urbino, a room can contain a world in miniature. Using Morrell's images as a point of departure, this paper will explore how the camera copes with the confines of the single chamber and how, in doing so, it serves to represent and mediate the relationship between the room and the world beyond.   
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: Society of Architectural Historians
Copyright (published version): 2013 the Author
Keywords: Architecture;Photography;Urbanism;Mind consciousness
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Society of Architectural Historians, 66th Annual Meeting, Buffalo, New York, 10-14 April, 2013
Appears in Collections:Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy Research Collection

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