Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dioptric Camera

We have completed our experiments with the Bull’s eye after following Descartes instructions in the fifth Discourse (see post July 16 2008). Descartes of course preceded photography but we believe, if he hadn’t, he might have wanted to capture nature through his disembodied bull’s eye in order to steal a glimpse of the world from outside human perception. We constructed a camera obscura by removing the lens from an early 20th century paper negative field camera and portable lab. We removed the original lens and replaced it with the cystalline nucleus from the bull's eye inserted into a dark slide and taped it to the lens mount.

Our working hypothesis was the bull lens and camera obscura would permit us to photograph beyond the surface appearance of things, much as the child in the Christian Anderson’s fable The Emperor’s New Suit perceived beyond the deception of the golden gown. In order to conduct good science we were required to neutralize all factors capable of influencing the results of our experiment. We were obliged to find a subject that we could be certain harboured a deception. We therefore decided to photograph a politician, since politicians are craftsmen of manipulated perception. If the image produced by our bull crystalline camera resembled one taken with traditional photographic equipment we would know instantly that we had failed.

After much careful consideration we selected a head of state of a relatively unknown and unimportant Nordic country so as not to offend the delicate financial network that sustains our research. We are very pleased with the results of our pilot experiment with Mr. Steepen Heartpoor who is currently the Mayor of Upper Canada. The first photograph is the official Queen’s issue portrait of Mr. Heartpoor, the second is a reproduction of the first portrait using our own Bull crystalline camera obscura.

The phone is ringing off the hook, there are many, many more portraits that we have been commissioned to make but lack the time and resources to proceed as quickly as we would like, and since this is the end of the summer we must turn now and begin to prepare for the new school year, if such portraits could ever be realised they will have to wait until the summer of 2009.

Good night and God Bless , and all the best for the coming year.