Mobile Camera Obscura

  By Evelyn Drake

Mitch Kern with the help of some ACAD faculty and alums, are turning a vintage fiberglass camping trailer into a mobile camera obscura. It’s a non-profit outreach project that will be used to popularize and teach youth groups in Calgary about photography.

As part of the local Beakerhead 2015 Festival they will be presenting the work in progress on Stephen Ave between Centre and 1st St SE Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 4-6pm, and all day Sunday in Tomkins Park on 17th Ave SW (between 7th and 8th Street).

Here’s a little background on the project – By Mitch Kern:

My own area of interest lies in the use of the camera obscura as an experience chamber where the world is made manifest in a particular way through the action of light alone.

I have been using static camera obscuras in my teaching for decades but have been wanting to make a mobile camera obscura for years that could be used with local people and kids to teach about vision, perception, cameras, photography, science and art. I also was looking for a way for my students to participate in the design, build and process of community service with me.

When an opportunity arose to lead a project to build an art car, I jumped at it. I thought, lets make an art car that could be as much a tool for engagement and collaboration as an art object; a mobile camera obscura. (And why not also make it into a large format camera that could make some interesting pictures).

The project brings together experts and students from the community to share in the design and build process, as well as provides an opportunity for everyone involved to participate in the outreach process with area schools, youth groups, on the reserve, art fairs or festivals, exhibitions, as platforms for teaching and learning.

Here is a picture form a nineteenth century worlds fair that served as inspiration for the project:




Evelyn Drake has been in the camera business since 2004. She has been involved in every aspect of The Camera Store's operations with a focus on marketing and event-based initiatives. She also hosts our YouTube channel The Camera Store TV.