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Long Island's camera obscura is located in its own building near the Marina at Mitchell Park on Front Street in Greenport. We are open by appointment only and weather permitting. For further information or an appointment please call 631-477-2200.
A camera obscura is a darkened room into which light enters through a small opening, projecting a live picture onto a screen. In a modern version, the view outside is reflected by a mirror through a lens, which projects it onto a viewing table. Looking down at the table one sees a living, two-dimensional image of the outside scene, in full color. The mirror can be rotated, so that, as it turns, one sees the view in all directions. The vibrant image promotes a feeling of serene detachment, reveals details otherwise overlooked, and enhances one's appreciation of the scenic beauty. Many viewers find the experience deeply moving, and almost all are fascinated by this magical new way of seeing.
Although images formed by pinholes were known to the ancients, the discovery of lenses in the 15th century made it possible to obtain a bright and clear picture. The camera obscura reached its height of popularity in the 18th & 19th centuries, both as an amusement and as a drawing aid for artists. Vermeer, Canaletto and Joshua Reynolds are known to have used one. During the 19th century, there were hundreds in existence, but with the invention of photography in 1839, camera obscuras slowly disappeared. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest.
Today there are approximately fifty public camera obscuras in the world, five of which are in the United States.
April 16, 2014
Partly Cloudy, 33 F
Wed - Mostly Sunny/Wind. High: 45 Low: 32
Thu - Mostly Sunny. High: 49 Low: 37
Fri - Mostly Cloudy. High: 47 Low: 40
Sat - Partly Cloudy. High: 52 Low: 42
Sun - Partly Cloudy. High: 54 Low: 42
VILLAGE OF GREENPORT
236 THIRD STREET
GREENPORT, NY 11944
PHONE: (631) 477-0248
FAX: (631) 477-1877
After Hours Utilities Emergencies
Call: (631) 477-0172
GEORGE HUBBARD JR.,
MARY BESS PHILLIPS
PAUL J. PALLAS, P.E.
SYLVIA LAZZARI PIRILLO, RMC
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR