Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida and the Silhouette

From July 23, 2012 through July 26, 2012 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at George Eastman House


The era just before the dawn of photography supported a culture of skilled portrait makers who saw the benefits of both light and lenses. The camera, in several forms, predated the invention of photography and was used by artists and those who simply enjoyed seeing the virtual image. This unique workshop offers what most historians and artists have long heard about, but few have actually experienced.

Guided by process historian Mark Osterman, participants will each make their own 19th-century style portable camera obscura and ribbon-tied folios to keep. Then they will have the opportunity to use their own cameras, a tent camera obscura and camera lucida to make drawings in the formal gardens at George Eastman House.

Within the museum, the group will trace shades of each other and reduce them with a pantograph to make both hollow cut and bronzed silhouettes. Profiles will also be made with an 1810-style physionotrace apparatus. Rare drawings, silhouettes and cameras obscura from the George Eastman House vaults will be displayed for inspection and discussion. Lecture topics will include the evolution of drawing machines and the silhouette.

Limited to 10 participants, this four-day workshop is suitable for curators, photograph conservators, historians, artists, art teachers, art students, and anyone interested in the evolution of drawing, portraiture, and photography. No experience is necessary for this unique workshop.

Tuition: $700 members, $750 non-members, plus $50 materials fee.

Cancellation Policy: Withdrawal from the workshop two weeks before the session start date will receive a refund, minus a $50 processing fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations made less than two weeks before a workshop start date. If the workshop is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, the entire class will be fully refunded. The Eastman House is not responsible for airline ticket cancellation costs or fees. The Eastman House may take and use images, still or video, for educational and promotional purposes. 

Location and Scheduling: Daily sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Unless otherwise stated, the workshops are held at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. Directions can be found at our website at www.eastmanhouse.org/visit/location.php.  

Lodging: Lodging is not included in the cost of the workshop. Participants must make their own arrangements. The host hotel for workshops held at George Eastman House is the Rochester Plaza Hotel, www.rochesterplaza.com. This hotel will provide a complimentary shuttle to and from the museum. Room rates are $83 per night. The Rochester Plaza Hotel also provides transportation to and from the airport. Reservations can be made by calling (866) 826-2831. When calling to make a reservation, please mention the confirmation code CAC to get this special rate.



Location : 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607 · More Information · RTS Routes 17, 18/19, 21, and 22

Hours: Tue - Sat : 10am - 5pm . Sun : 11am - 5pm. · More Information · Buy Tickets

Admission : Adults $14, Seniors (62+) $12, Students (with ID) $5, Children 12 and Under Free · Members Free

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