Abelardo Morell

American, born Cuba (Havana, Cuba, 1948)

Camera Obscura Image of the Empire State Building in Bedroom

photograph | gelatin silver print
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  • Camera Obscura Image of the Empire State Building in Bedroom

    Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura Image of the Empire State Building in Bedroom, 1994; gelatin silver print, 20 in. x 24 in. (50.8 cm x 60.96 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of the artist in memory of Bill Beckler; © Abelardo Morell

Alberto Morell began to experiment with the camera obscura (Latin for "dark room") in 1986, when he was housebound after the birth of his son. He has continued the body of work in New York and other cities.

Beginning with an ordinary space such as a living room, a bedroom, or a hotel room, Morrell transforms it into a camera obscura by covering the windows with black plastic. Piercing a small hole in the plastic, he allows light to pass through and to cast an image on the opposite wall. This example, taken somewhere near the Empire State Building, shows the iconic architecture of Manhattan projected over a bedroom's simple interior, complete with lopsided lampshade and framed snapshot.

As in every camera obscura, the projected image formed by the pinhole appears upside down and backward. Morell then photographs the room's interior with a view camera, often using extremely long exposures lasting many hours.

20 in. x 24 in. (50.8 cm x 60.96 cm)
Acquired 1994
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of the artist in memory of Bill Beckler
© Abelardo Morell


interiors, rooms, photographic techniques, camera obscuras, beds, monuments

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