Cooperative of Photography

Sitting Inside An Immersive Camera Obscura


Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer are two UK installation artists that have been working in partnership for over 20 years.  Their project ‘The Reveal’ is a breathtaking underground immersive Camera Obscura which was installed at Hadleigh Country Park, Essex, UK in early summer 2015.  We caught up with Anna and Leon who shared some more detailed information on the project below…

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The exterior facade has been constructed of oak and the ash lined interior houses a seat and space for around 4 to 5 people. The lens of the camera obscura is 260 mm in diameter with a 3000 mm focal length fixed within the door which needs to be closed in order to dim the light and focus the view onto the back wall of the tunnel. Once inside as the door springs closed behind you, the large bright inverted ‘live’ image snaps into focus on the circular screen that forms the back wall of the camera obscura approximately 2.4 metres in diameter.

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The sense of the image is absolutely magical and immersive drawing on the vast southern skies the landscape falling away into the distance and the sharply focussed central section catching the passing ships having a quality almost like a moving oil painting.  This camera obscura has been set up in order that a viewer has the experience of being inside a constantly changing photograph, the small depth of field and large lens creates a sublime bokeh (the quality of the out of focus fringes of the image) in which the viewer sits amongst.

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The Reveal was commissioned by Essex County Council and Place Services on behalf of RSPB and The Greater Thames Marshes Nature Improvement Area Partnership (NIA) and with support from the Arts Council of England and the Olympic Legacy Interpretation fund, 2015

Written by Matthew Rycroft

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