S – select
X – delete
F – freeze
These camera obscura scans have been resized to a much wider aspect ratio, stretching the original image horizontally. As moving objects pass across the scanner sensor, they appear compressed to different degrees depending on their speed. Stretching these images out revealed walking people and moving vehicles that hadn’t been much more than vertical lines in the originals. These scans have not been altered in any other way except to flip, crop and resize them.
My home town of Dumfries has a camera obscura in an 18th Century windmill tower on top of a hill. The camera obscura was a precursor to photography that did not capture or record any images. This one, controlled by a system of ropes and pulleys, projects views of the surrounding town and countryside on to a table. The images here were made by capturing those views using a normal flatbed scanner on the camera obscura table. It’s like a scanner camera (where a scanner is used in place of film or a sensor) but on a bigger scale. Because a scanner builds up the image slowly by moving from one side to another, rather than all at once, moving objects are distorted. These images haven’t been changed in any way except to crop them. Thanks to Alex Boyd for the photos at the end showing the setup.