We are Jenny Duffin and Pete Ashton, a couple of artist/photographer/etc types who live in Birmingham in the West Midlands. Since meeting in 2013 we’ve developed a mutual obsession with the noble Camera Obscura and determined to make our own. The first portable iteration emerged onto the streets of Birmingham over the summer of 2014.
But it’s not enough to simple build a camera. For a start it’s not actually that hard and many have done it before. We want to make this a bigger thing and have a quite ambitious plan.
We want, by 2020, for Birmingham to have its own permanent Camera Obscura, just like Bristol, Edinburgh, Aberystwyth and even little London have. We don’t know where it will go or what it will look like, but we are determined to make it happen.
Here is our schedule:
2014: The prototype Portable Camera Obscura, built by us with meagre carpentry skills, appears in Birmingham throughout the summer at various events to raise awareness and build support.
2015: We build a proper portable camera obscura, designed to last and based on our experiences in 2014, funded through Kickstarter
2015-2016: The shiny new Portable Camera Obscura becomes the centrepiece of activities around the West Midlands, including building some experimental cameras around the city.
2016-7: We start work on the Camera Obscura Sheds, temporary structures which can be moved around potential sites and other areas with good views. We see these being erected on the roof gardens of the Library of Birmingham, for example, for a few weeks, then moving to somewhere like Snow Hill Station car park.
2018: Having found a site we start work on fundraising and planning for our permanent Camera Obscura.
2019: We predict this year will be hard work and rather boring.
2020: The Birmingham Camera Obscura opens to the public!
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