How Old Is Griet In Girl With A Pearl Earring The Camera Obscura: What Does It Relate To?

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The Camera Obscura: What Does It Relate To?

If you don’t know anything about camera obscura, let’s start like this. Have you ever asked yourself why photography devices are called cameras? They were called cameras because their direct ancestor is the camera obscura, an optical device operating on the basis of a simple law of physics. Camera Obscura is Latin for dark room. It is important to understand that this is not an invented mechanical device; it works on a naturally occurring phenomenon. It’s like fire or a rainbow.

If you want to fully understand the concept, you can try this: on a clear day, get into a very dark room (darkness is obtained by covering the window with an opaque but thin material). Make a hole in the object that covers the window. If the opening is small enough, on the opposite wall you will see the world outside the window, full of color and movement and turned upside down. Your room is now a camera obscura.

Let’s see what the camera obscura principle is. When rays reflected from bright objects outside (which is why the experiment must be done on a clear day) pass through the pinhole, they are not scattered. Instead, they cross and reform as an upside-down image on the opposite wall or any flat surface held parallel to the hole.

The principles of the camera obscura have been known since ancient times. Its earliest mention was by the Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti in the 5th century BC. His experiment was similar to the one described above. He called the darkened room a “locked treasure room.” Even Aristotle (3rd century BC) understood the principle of camera obscura. It is claimed that the Islamic scientist Abu Ali Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haitham (also known as Al-Hazen) is the one who actually discovered it while conducting some experiments in optics in the early 11th century in Egypt.

In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci described the camera obscura in the Codex Atlanticus. He seems to have been the first to discover its potential as a drawing aid. In the 17th and 18th centuries, artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Canaletto, Guardi and Paul Sandby were known for their incredible attention to detail. Therefore, it was speculated that they used a camera obscura. If you’ve seen The Girl with a Pearl Earring (the movie about how Vermeer created his masterpiece that gave the movie its title), you must remember that “magic box” that Griet finds in the artist’s studio and her surprise when he shows her how it works.

The camera obscura that the artists used was not the basic one described at the beginning of the article. Image quality was improved by adding a convex lens to the aperture, and a set of mirrors solved the inverted image problem.

Let us now understand how this simple optical device becomes a camera. The camera obscura was able to capture an accurate picture of the world outside; the only problem remained was the recording of this image. Therefore, it was sufficient to add a sheet of light-sensitive material to a slightly modified camera obscura. This is how photography was invented at the beginning of the 19th century.

Another use of the camera obscura was for entertainment; some camera obscura rooms were built by the sea or in areas of scenic beauty as tourist attractions. Some of them still survive. They are large chambers located in tall buildings. The live panorama from outside is projected into the room using a rotating lens. Some of you might be asking yourself what’s the point of going into a dark room and looking at the reflection of something you see outside. What’s interesting about this kind of experience isn’t the view itself, but the feeling you get when you’re just a spectator of the world around you.

Personally, I am absolutely fascinated by the camera obscura. There are many interesting things about it that I have not mentioned in this article. With its help, for example, you can experiment that light propagates in time, with speed, and even calculate the speed of light. This was Al-Hazen’s discovery. Another interesting fact is that the German astronomer Johannes Kepler used a camera obscura for his astronomical observations. And you can learn much more about this magical device…

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