Since 1991, Abelardo Morell has converted rooms into Camera Obscuras in order to photograph the strange and delightful meeting of the outside world with the room’s interior. In setting up a room to make this kind of photograph, he covers all windows with black plastic in order to achieve total darkness. Then, he cuts a small hole in the material he uses to cover the windows. This opening allows an inverted image of the view outside to flood onto the back walls of the room. Typically, he then uses a large-format camera capture this scenario as a photograph.
In an effort to find new ways to push this technique, Morell has worked with his assistants, C.J. Heyliger and subsequently, Maxwell LaBelle, on designing lightproof tents, which can project views of the surrounding landscape, via periscope-type optics, onto the surface of the ground inside the tent. Within this darkened space, like in the indoor rooms, he uses a camera to record the sandwich of these two outdoor realities meeting on the ground. Depending on the quality of the surface terrain, these views can take on a variety of painterly effects.
Morell’s tent-camera liberates him to use the Camera Obscura technique in places where it would have been previously impossible to work, because he now has a portable room, so to speak.