Monday, 8 June 2015

Torre Tavira

Torre Tavira is situated in Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain. It was originally a watch tower, sat at a vantage point of 45m above sea level, but now is home to an exhibition on the Camara Obscura.

The camara obscura represents photography and its humble beginnings. It was the stepping stone from which an image was transported onto another surface. Obviously our ancestors were yet to master how to make that image stick. Henry Fox Talbot was to later produce the Calotype method during the Victorian era but up until then it was the camara obscura that dominated the scene.

The Camara Obscura literally means the 'dark chamber', referring to the blacked out room they would be placed in in order to create a live image. This 'dark chamber' has lived on though, in the form of rooms devoted to developing photographs.

The Camara Obscura as a concept is as old as time but was a term that was only coined in the 17th century by the astronomer Kepler.

The exhibition is lead by a member of staff actually using the camara obscura. They take you through an explanation of how it works. Briefly, there are mirrors at the top of the tower that project an image onto a crater-like white bowl in a blacked out room. The mirror is connected to a lever whereby the people using it can adjust the mirror, moving it back and forth, to increase/decrease focus and to change direction. The focus blurs a lot the closer you get. The image that is projected onto the bowl is a live feed of what is going on in the street below.

The man leading the exhibition was brilliant. So much fun.

At the end you get to go up to the top and see the city of Cadiz.

Here are some pictures:

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