Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/12/18

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Subject: [Leica] Old Masters using cameras (was Lesson on Bokeh)
From: Alex Hurst <>
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 13:07:56 +0000

Greg Locke wrote:

>        I was AWESTRUCK! It seemed like after all these years taking
>pictures, all of a sudden, it really made sense. The light, the composition,
>the subject was stunning.
>        Needless to say, I highly recommend spending time with these
>paintings if you get the chance. I guarantee you will think differently
>about how you take pictures.

One of the fascinating things is that some of these famous 'Old Masters'
actually used cameras!

In their case, it was the 'camera obscura' - a sort of small portable
darkroom with a carefully positioned pinhole or primitive lens in one side.
When you aligned the pinhole with the scene, it was projected upside down
on a piece of paper pinned on the opposite wall of the darkroom.
The artist could then sketch over the image and get his perspective spot on.

Canaletto, famous painter of city vistas in Venice, London and elsewhere,
certainly used one of these devices.

There's also strong evidence that the immortal Jan Vermeer also used one
for some of his famous Dutch interiors. A couple of pictures appear to be
have been painted in the same room, which may well have been his studio.
Now there's a _real_ master of light!



Alex Hurst
Cork Florists
19 Winthrop St, Cork
Republic of Ireland
Tel: +353 21 270 907
Fax: +353 21 271 248
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