New Zealand D-Photo - - FOCUS NEWS -

Whangarei’s Cam­era Obscura is pro­gress­ing; D-Photo spoke with project leader and pho­tog­ra­pher Diane Stop­pard about how it’s com­ing along, and how D-Photo read­ers can help

D-Photo: For those who aren’t aware of it, can you ex­plain the Cam­era Obscura Whangarei project in a lit­tle de­tail?

Diane Stop­pard: The Cam­era Obscura Sculp­ture in Whangarei is an eight-me­tre steel sculp­ture within which is a cam­era obscura. Echo­ing Richard Serra’s steel work, this sculp­ture re­flects the mar­itime his­tory of the Hatea River and cel­e­brates the unique Te Matau a Pohe bas­cule bridge in Whangarei. The project team is led by [my­self, and] in­cludes ar­chi­tect Felic­ity Chris­tian and sculp­tor Tr­ish Clarke. [We com­bine our] re­spec­tive skills to cre­ate a vis­ually strong and ar­chi­tec­turally unique in­ter­ac­tive art ex­pe­ri­ence for New Zealand. Us­ing the new­est CCTV tech­nol­ogy, the im­ages cre­ated by the obscura are pro­jected onto the screen on the ex­te­rior of the sculp­ture, whilst pro­ject­ing im­ages to the world via the web.

It looks as if things are track­ing along very nicely for the Cam­era Obscura Whangarei! How did the PledgeMe cam­paign go, and what will that money go to­wards?

A very suc­cess­ful PledgeMe cam­paign gen­er­ated $30,000, and through the gen­eros­ity of the lo­cal, na­tional, and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, the funds have reached $42,812 — just shy of the $50,000 com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tion aimed for. The project has at­tracted in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est, with sig­nif­i­cant obscura artists fol­low­ing and sup­port­ing the project.

Can you out­line how the cam­era obscura will work, and what it will show?

The pub­lic will jour­ney into the sculp­ture to ar­rive in a white room (with soft cor­ners and or­ganic seat­ing), onto which the view of the bas­cule bridge, sky, road, river and walk­ers, is pro­jected all over the floor, wall, and ceil­ing. Us­ing the sci­ence of light, when cre­at­ing a hole (or square) in the wall of a light­proof space, the view out­side is pro­jected up­side down and back to front within that space. The same way the hu­man eye or cam­era lens works.

What else is on the to-do list? Do you have any more cam­paigns com­ing up? Is there any way for the pub­lic to help?

The project is cur­rently be­ing costed by the gen­er­ous busi­ness com­mu­nity of Whangarei. As the steel work is com­plex, the project is very lucky to be sup­ported by Cul­ham En­gi­neer­ing, which has do­nated the steel ($46,000), and has the tech­nol­ogy to roll the metal into the or­ganic form of sculp­ture. We are still seek­ing the fi­nal com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tion. Sup­port­ers of this project can make do­na­tions and be rec­og­nized for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. A $200-plus do­na­tion [will see] your name etched in the base of sculp­ture, and $1000-plus puts your name on the large steel door. To sup­port the project go to cam­eraob­, or post cheques to ‘Cam­era Obscura’ PO Box 3223, On­er­ahi, Whangarei 0142, with your de­tails. This is an op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in an ex­cit­ing, innovative pho­to­graphic project for New Zealand.

When is the pro­jected date to get the Cam­era Obscura in­stalled and func­tion­ing?

We plan to meet the Novem­ber fund­ing

round for large projects and, when suc­cess­ful, con­struc­tion will start in March 2018, with an open­ing pro­jected for Oc­to­ber 2018.

Do you have any­one you’d like to thank, in terms of get­ting this project to fruition?

The lo­cal sup­port from the Whangarei peo­ple and busi­ness com­mu­nity has been huge. This com­mu­nity-led project has been sig­nif­i­cantly sup­ported, and we have rec­og­nized that sup­port on the web­site. You can also fol­low our progress on our YouTube chan­nel, Cam­era Obscura NZ. This sculp­ture will join a hand­ful of in­ter­na­tional sculp­tural cam­era obscura, and be one of the largest in the world. We have yet to find one us­ing the CCTV tech­nol­ogy — by adding this di­men­sion, we cre­ate an art ex­pe­ri­ence where the viewer be­comes a per­former in the space, while mak­ing a so­cial com­ment on the use of CCTV in our so­ci­ety. I urge New Zealand’s pho­to­graphic com­mu­nity to get be­hind this very vis­ual project.

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