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The view from our window @ Rydges Hotel overlooking Lake Wakatipu – Planning a camera obscura shoot

Rydges Hotel Camera Obscura: Queenstown + Lake Wakatipu

We checked into the Rydges on the Lake hotel at Queenstown in the late afternoon and the lake-view room demanded that a camera obscura image be made. Hotel and motel rooms are all pretty much the same—the beds, the bathroom, the table with one chair maybe two, the big mirror, the tiny bar fridge full of junk food and drink and the TV. In the room one could be anywhere and nowhere.

That evening a visit to the local 4 Square store meant that we were equipped with enough black plastic bin liners and some black electrical tape to cover the 2.5 X 3 metre window.

What we needed to complement the image potential for the picture was a beautiful clear sunny day—and that’s exactly what happened the next day. There were two sessions, one around mid-day and the other late afternoon. Blue sky, the golden leaves of poplar trees in autumn and the colours of lake and mountain filled the room.

Camera Obscura image looking towards Walter Peak

In between shoots we left the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door just in case room-cleaning staff should intervene—We often wonder about what unsuspecting visitors would think when first entering the blacked-out space of the room.

Three main images were made—one of the un-made bed, a deep shot into the room, one each of the both of us—Vicky timing the one-minute exposure, the other, a simulation of Doug checking the review screen of the Olympus camera that had been used for image-making that day.

Image left: Vicky times the exposure Image right: Doug reviews images made on his camera

The ‘pinhole’ was fashioned from a postcard of Lake Wakatipu with the steamship the Earnslaw crossing the lake. The aperture was around 10mm and the exposure time around 2.5 minutes.

Victoria Cooper holding the postcard with the ‘hole’ in it

TWINSCAPES Opening – March 12, 2011

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Japanese pinhole photographer Hideharu Matsuhisa presents the exhibition The TwinScapes @ the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery  – March 9 ~ April 10.

PHOTOS: Mark Schoeman

Hide has been a regular visitor to Australia for many years – staying with Brisbane photographic identity Ian Poole. For 7 years Hide has been working with pinhole film cameras in Japan, the US and Australia. The Caloundra gallery exhibition is a selection of his color pinhole images made over this period.

As pinhole photographers and friends to Hide we supported his exhibition by providing pinhole cameras and other resources. We were invited by Hide to include two camera obscura images to be included as visiting artists in his show. On the morning of Saturday 12th we presented a lecture on pinhole photography to around 40 participants. After lunch John Waldron, (Cultural Heritage & Collections Manager, Creative Communities, Sunshine Coast Council) presented a commentary on Hide’s approach to pinhole photography (SEE http://lucidamagazine.com/?p=414).  We officially opened the exhibition.

The TwinScapes exhibition features color pinhole imagery that has the profound feeling of a memory – in encountering the works the viewer may have a sense of looking at the image of a past experience. Hide’s feeling for the sweeping expanse of the Australian landscape is complimented by the tight compositions of urban Japanese buildings.

Thanks Hide for sharing your “light” with us.

'Trees in fog' by Hideharu Matsuhisa

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