01
Feb
08

Quarters only

In Manhattan, ‘downtown’ refers to any place south of you and ‘uptown’ to any place north of you. In Tampa, downtown refers to a specific area regardless of where you stand. We have no uptown.

I’m fascinated by the history of photography. If you have never heard the term ‘camera obscura’ you should look it up. Can you imagine people creating such amazing representations of real life before electricity? We take photography for granted because we are exposed to thousands of images a day. For these early ‘camera operators’ this was something unfathomable.

On August 19 of 1839, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre made public the technical details of his daguerreotype process. An eye-witness to the event commented thusly:

“A few days later, opticians’ shops were crowded with amateurs panting for daguerreotype apparatus, and everywhere cameras were trained on buildings. Everyone wanted to record the view from his window, and he was lucky who at first trial got a silhouette of roof tops against the sky. He went into ecstasies over chimneys, counted over and over roof tiles and chimney bricks, was astonished to see the very mortar between the bricks—in a word, the technique was so new that even the poorest plate gave him indescribable joy.” (Newhall 23)

Indescribable joy. To have been there in the beginning…

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Newhall, Beaumont. The History of Photography. The Museum of Modern Art. New York: 1982.

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3 Responses to “Quarters only”


  1. 1 DO
    February 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Sounds like its time for a trip to San Francisico

  2. 2 flashkube
    February 3, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks for the link DO. Recently, the FMOPA in downtown Tampa installed a permanent camera obscura for educational purposes. I can’t wait to go check it out.

  3. 3 maria
    February 19, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Hi Dan! thanks for the comments! The artists didn’t stay for that long in our class, but I did get some good feedback…still looking for ways to push the whole projection thing further… I just went to the museum last weekend, they demonstrated a camera obscura for my class! And I learned that USF Special Collections has the Burgertt Brother’s Tampa panoramas, and they have made them available online…also, some of your images make me think of Lee Friedlander, like this one w/ the viewer…you should check him out…he used creative angles, reflections, and you get the feeling that he was capturing these daily events as he walked along…


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