The Magic Mirror of Life at McDonogh School
April 7, 2003

When we accepted an April invitation to show our tent camera obscura at the annual Arts Day at McDonogh School outside Baltimore we were worried about rain. The days running up to the event were beautiful and dry so we picked a spot on the campus that would give a good view all around. The day before the presentation was ideal but the weather forecast for the next day was grim. We had worried about rain but the forecast was for snow!

Walking around the campus we noticed the high windows in the lobby of the Burck Center. We had already shown the tent in the courtyard of the Maryland Institute College of Art the year before so we knew the setup would work if the ceiling was high enough. We installed the tent, a smaller one person tent and two box camera obscuras in front of the windows in the lobby .

Jack gave a lecture on the history of the camera obscura to the school assembly in the morning and for the rest of the day the art teachers and students worked with the camera obscuras. The day was rather dark and a light snow did fall but the students gathered around the table in the tent for demonstrations and to watch the world passing outside.

The art teachers and students used the smaller instruments for drawing projects throughout the day.

The Magic Mirror tent which is 7' square and over 8' tall is dwarfed by the large space of the lobby.

Above, a student sits inside the one-person tent and draws on the table while another student sits on the floor and draw the same view directly.

The tent is visible through the window on the left.

On the left two students share a view in a box camera obscura with a lens and mirror at the top. Above one of the art teachers discusses a drawing made in a box camera obscura with a student.

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Lost UK Seaside Camera Obscuras
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Portable and box camera obscuras from our collection.
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Camera Obscuras with the Lens at the Top
Cardboard Camera Obscuras
A French Artist's Camera with supplies
Vermeer's Camera, a 1934 teaching camera
Camera Obscura Publications

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