In 2010, Bella Klein and Daniel Paterson converted a utility trailer into a mobile pinhole camera obscura. They began to use this camera to expose large black and white photographs of Montreal and its suburbs. Klein and Paterson go inside the lens-less camera together and fix the ephemeral light projection onto photographic paper, transforming the fleeting image into a photographic object. Inspired by historical photographic expeditions and the American tradition of road trip photography, Klein and Paterson began taking the camera on multiple road trips between Canada and the United States.
The Trailer Obscura camera is not restrained by traditional film or camera formats; it’s simplicity allows freedom for experimentation. However, the camera imposes its own set of limitations: It can only shoot where there is car access during bright daylight hours, it has a fixed horizontal vantage point, the space inside is limited to five by eight feet and the small aperture pinhole require very long exposure times. The photographs visually reveal their process through rips, scratches, blurring, colour casts, light leaks, and distortion.
The paper negatives have been shown as final mono prints, as well as contact printed positives in Montreal, Toronto and New York City. Trailer Obscura simultaneously engages with the photographic road trip tradition, the North American landscape, and the history of the photographic medium. The collaboration continues with plans for future road trips with the camera.
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