The Camera Obscured
2 February 2015

The Camera Obscured
(2012)

The security guards of London have a reputation for aggressively and sometimes illegally preventing photography near the buildings they ward. When asked to justify their behaviour they often invoke spurious pretexts relating to the threat of terrorist attack. Frustrated by many such encounters, I decided to travel to sensitive sites around the city which I then proceeded to draw using a home-made camera obscura.

In each case this procedure took up to an hour, was extremely visible and distinctly suspicious looking. When inevitably challenged to ‘stop photographing’, I attempted to engage these personnel in discussion about the subtle distinctions and blurred boundaries between images made by mechanical means and those drawn by hand, and by doing so demonstrating the absurdity of proscribing photography.

The result is a book of fragmented images, their incompleteness in each case indicating the speed with which I was intercepted and thereby giving some sense of the level of security at each site. Accompanying texts in the book explore disparate but related topics, including the history of representation, the intersections of art and photography, and the question of where the balance lies between individual rights and collective security.

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