These views are from the inside projection within replica Wolcott daguerreotype cameras that have been installed across the city in locations relevant to the history of Photography. Visibility will be limited outside daylight hours. Please switch between cameras using the numbered tabs.
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The camera devices in this project are time-machines, offering a way in to reflection upon the past within the contemporary cityscape.
The camera design used for this project is based on the Wolcott daguerreotype camera which was patented in 1840. The camera uses a mirror rather than a lens to focus the image, allowing for much more light to enter the camera and shortening exposure times, making daguerreotypes much easier to produce and allowing for the production of better quality portrait images.
The Wolcott camera is incredibly rare, with only two known surviving original examples in the world, one of which is held in the collection of Birmingham Museum. Speculatively, this may even have been the actual camera used by George Shaw in the city to produce views of New Street which survive and are the correct size and format. This original device has been 3D scanned for the exhibition and a visualisation of the object is available to view in the gallery at BOM.
This camera design has been used due to its technical innovation which sits well with the use of technology throughout the project and also as George Shaw was known to have produced images using a Wolcott. The image is projected inside the camera onto a central screen and appears to float within the body of the camera, in a way which is particularly ephemeral, lending itself to our filming of this projection using miniature Rasberry Pi cameras placed within the camera bodies.