Empty Apartments Transformed into a Giant Multi-Lens Camera Obscura
United Kingdom-based photographer Brendan Barry used four empty apartments and turned them into a multi-lens camera obscura in order to create massive panoramic prints.
Barry is an expert in turning everyday things and locations into working cameras and has transformed numerous objects, like bread and watermelon, shipping container, campervan, and even a Manhattan skyscraper, into funtional image capture devices.
The camera obscura process is the oldest type of camera and dates back thousands of years. The concept involves using a box, or housing of sorts, with either a pinhole or a lens attached to project incoming light onto the back — for example, on a wall.
From Empty Rooms to a Massive Camera Obscura
In Barry’s latest project, titled “Lund Point,” he used four empty flats in East London and turned them into multi-lens camera obscura, similar to his earlier Manhattan skyscraper project.
This time he used a new approach, he tells PetaPixel. In collaboration with a group of young adults from East London, recruited through Beyond the Box, the team began work on creating a a blacked-out room in each flat.
The process involved blacking out the space to prevent unwanted light from passing through and installing the lens using one of the windows. Once it was secured, the team had to focus and frame an image in order to create a negative.
Barry and his team used giant 50 by 100-inch paper negatives, which they then contact-printed into positive images using phone flashlights and chemicals to rinse them clean.
As none of the empty apartments had running water, the team had to use a water hose from a local community center. Unsurprisingly, some of the locals got curious about the project and came to see what the team was doing each day.
The Communal Aspect of “Lund Point”
The resulting work is currently on display at Victoria and Albert Museum in London. At the same time, a week-long festival called “Envision East,” took place and centered around the theme of “Making Space,” interlinking with the camera obscura experiment.
Speaking about the project, Condie Baiden, Lead Young Cultural Producer, says that “this project is unique because unlike a lot of things commissioned by cultural spaces, it actively engaged with the voices of the community that it situated itself in.”
“We spoke to residents past and present to make the project as ethical and open as possible. The project allowed for young East Londoners to ‘take up space’, something that is at the heart of the Envision East festival.”
More of Barry’s work can be found on his website and Instagram.
Image credits: Photos provided courtesy of Brendan Barry.