Camera Obscura

Our custom-made camera obscura pays tribute to an optical phenomenon that led to the invention of the camera. Currently closed to the public.

A view of Ramillies Street as seen through the Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Our custom-made camera obscura pays tribute to an optical phenomenon that led to the invention of the camera. Currently closed to the public.

Our custom made camera obscura with a triplet lens was installed on 6 September 2012 and affords a 360 degree vertical 'slice' along Ramillies Street up to the sky and back again. 

Located on the third floor (Eranda Studio Floor) of The Photographers' Gallery, we open the camera obscura on brighter or longer days, when the Studio isn't in use for other activities.

The Latin words camera obscura can be roughly translated as darkened room or chamber. A camera obscura is created when a small hole or aperture is made in a darkened space, producing an inverted image of the scene outside onto an opposite surface within.

This phenomenon has helped to prove that light travels in straight lines. A lens is used to increase the brightness and sharpness of the image. Camera obscura have been used as an aid to drawing and, particularly during the Victorian era, a popular form of entertainment.

There are many camera obscura located throughout the world including: Greenwich; Aberystwyth; Bristol; Edinburgh; and further afield in Eger, Hungary; Santa Monica, USA; Havana, Cuba; and Johannesburg, South Africa.