Monthly Archives: March 2012

Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly Bear group at the American Museum of Natural History (1941) has a foreground by Raymond de Lucia and a background by James Perry Wilson. If you look at the Coyote group a few posts back you will notice the seamless tie-in between the painting and the material foreground. Here the foreground horizon into the valley makes a clear scenic break (in which there is a tiny bird flying between the painting and the foreground, held on a wire) and the two are assembled by view but do not touch.

There is a photograph of Raymond de Lucia acting as if he was being mauled by one of the bears that did not amuse the directors at the time.

Use the usual procedure to resolve the stereoscopic images.

While these are great dioramas, I am obviously partly also using them to keep the blog alive while working on some new stuff. I hope to post some fresh work in the next week or so, so please keep checking for new posts.

Manufacturing the Bespoke

Very happy to have a chapter in Bob Sheil’s new book Manufacturing the Bespoke. My copy arrived today from Amazon and there is lots of wonderful work documented in the book. As well as Bob and Sixteen Maker’s wonderful 55/02 project there is a new project by Peter Salter, for instance. Other contributors include Stephen Gage; Mark Burry; Tobius Bonwetsch, Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler; Mary Vaughn Johnson; Philip Beesley; Mark West; Liquid Factory; Natalija Subotincic and Frank Fantauzzi; Guan Lee; Anderson Inge; Charles Walker and Martin Self, Michael Stacey; a great piece by Phil Ayres; Rachel Armstrong; Xavier de Kestelier and Richard Buswell; Neri Oxman and Constance Adams. My chapter discusses some of the drawing instruments.

Instrument Eight under construction

Instrument Eight components

A couple of pictures of components and sub-assemblies for the various versions of Instrument 8.

I managed to get the chassis for the first version together – see:

and am hoping to find time to get the others assembled soon. There is lots yet to resolve on the active parts – I will post some more on that when I get there.

A while ago I posted some pictures taken through a model of Samuel Van Hoogstraten’s peepshow:

I dug out some of the test shots, where some of the less successful ones reveal the seam between the material and pictorial space.

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

They are shot using a home made camera. It uses a pinhole to get the depth of field to make sense of both the space inside the box and my studio behind (the model is much smaller than the real peepshow). The camera has a lot of shift so that the image captures the whole available view with close to the ideal resolution of the anamorphic projection.

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

In the image above, where the lighting is not even enough, you can see the form of the box more clearly than in the previous shots. This image does not have the light shining up through the cut out doors.

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

Test (above) with too short an exposure so that the light shining though the cut out door is exposed but hardly anything else. It does, however, isolate that light to compare with the other shots. The light is only shining though one of the doors at this stage. When shining though both the shadows present an even greater paradox.

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

Compare the photographs above with the more balanced exposure above. All are shot using Polaroid 669 stock. The demise of Polaroid is a great loss. I have not tried the Impossible project’s material yet – all my Polaroid backs are for peel-apart film as I mostly used 669 and type 59.

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

A test for the reverse view (above). The reflections of the (painted) light from the window undermines the form of the ceiling’s timber beams.

Van Hoogstraten's peepshow test

A less balanced exposure again reveals the form of the box rather than the pictorial space of the room.

White Rhino

The background for the White Rhinoceros group at the American Museum of Natural History was painted by James Perry Wilson in 1937. Apparently the back of the rhino closest to the background is painted white to reflect as much light as possible in the tight space and to avoid a shadow on the vertical surface. The painted detail in the mud around the pool and the reflections in the water is very accomplished but not up to the standard of the water in Wilson’s Coyote group (see Dioramas 2) where he also made the survey drawings and photographs. If you are looking at these as a stereo pair you can just see the very low ceiling masked as dark clouds.

Use the usual procedure to reconcile the stereo pair of pictures.