Departments collaborate to make camera obscura


Photography students view camera obscura projection in Rugby Tower. Courtesy of Jesse Chehak

Crystal Baik

The Visual Arts and Science departments collaborated to create a camera obscura in Rugby Tower, which was available to the community from Sept. 12-13.

One of the main goals of the project was to enable students to better understand optics and the inner workings of a camera, among other things.

“Since we’ve been doing similar projects [in the classroom], it was really nice experiencing it on a larger scale,” Marty Kaplan ’22 said. “Just seeing projects like this are motivating and cool and I’m really thankful that I’m a part of this class.”

Teachers involved in making the camera obscura include Jesse Chehak, Alexandra Pacheco Garcia, Karen Hutchison, and Steve Yang ’08. Yang, an engineering teacher, said he believes that future projects similar to the camera obscura will continue to make the engineering field known to more students.

“We’re this interface between art and science but if you were to ask a typical student what engineering is, I don’t think they would have any idea,” Yang said. “This is an opportunity for students to realize that they can actually take an object they don’t really understand and open it up and see how it works, which I think is making science more intuitive in a way.”

The four teachers hope to make this project annual and witness increasing collaborations across departments in the future.

“[Mr. Chehak and I] want to turn the Rugby halls and Seaver halls into installation spaces,” Pacheco Garcia said. “We want more collaborations across more disciplines like illustrating a book [students] are reading in [their] English class. We are talking about ways we can do big, participatory photographic collaborative projects like this where photography and the arts aren’t just isolated up here in Feldman-Horn.”