Camera Obscura

This first sketch isn't by Leonardo but it shows the principle behind the "Camera Obscura" which he developed.

The other images are by da Vinci and are from his notebooks where he describes the process. It was a precursor to Photography and works in mostly the same way.

A small hole (the aperture) allows light into a dark area where it projects an image of everything in front of it. It could then be sketched or painted accurately. Essentially a "Painted Photograph" (Camera Obscura)- if the image is reflected onto film or a digital image sensor (Camera)- it's photography. 

This accounts for some of the precise detail in Leonardo's work - he could literally "Trace/Paint" the photographic image of something. It's also possible he worked with photo-sensitive materials and that he should be credited as the worlds first photographer. Hundreds of years before anyone else would 'invent' it again!

Previous Post: Shadows of the PastTuesday, June 19, 2012 | Derek Bair


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