“Camera obscura” literally means “dark chamber” in Latin, and it describes the first known imaging device, which can be traced back to antiquity. The camera obscura, which is the most basic manifestation of a modern-day camera—a device with a hole and a surface on which to reflect and capture an image—holds to the same technical principle as the pinhole camera, but on a much larger scale. An inverted image passes through a small hole and is projected onto a surface inside a darkroom or tent.
The camera obscura gained popularity in the 16th century when the darkroom evolved into a portable box that included a lens and a mirror so that the image could be visibly reflected within it. Artists such as da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Vermeer are believed to have used the device to aid in an accurate depiction of light and shadow; scientists used the technology to observe the cosmos, and it led to the development of the variations on the camera that we know today.
Below, we capture 9 analog photography techniques used to create images with these early cameras. Continue reading.