Honouring the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence and the 175th anniversary of the first Finnish photograph, Photographic Centre Peri offered to the public an opportunity to explore the basic principle of the forming of an image in an experiential way. A unique space for basic photographic principle was brought to the historic milieu of Turku Cathedral Square inside a container.

Camera Obscura is latin and means darkened room. Light travels through a small hole and projects an upside down image of the outside view to the opposite wall.

The container opened at the beginning of June at Turku Cathedral Square. It is just a stone’s throw away from the place where the first Finnish photograph was taken. In 1842 doctor Henrik Cajander photographed a view from Uudenmaankatu. This is the oldest still existing photograph taken in Finland. Camera obscura combines the cultural landscape of Turku Cathedral with people walking through a central location, making the experience of camera obscura lively and vivid.

Already during the first three days of being open the container attracted over 500 interested visitors. During the summer of 2017 from June 12th to August 15th the container visited several places and summer events in Finland, for instance Farmer Agricultural Exhibition in Seinäjoki and Ruisrock festival. The container returned to Turku Cathedral Square during the event Night of the Arts on 17th August and stayed there for two weeks.

The container attracted hundreds of visitors and a lot of positive feedback in each location. During the summer thousands of people got to experience the phenomenon. The properties of the eye and camera were explained in pedagogically planned guided tours with apertures of different sizes, a removable lense and a moving reflective canvas. In the guided tours the experience of the physical phenomenon was contextualised to the history of the camera and photography. The guided tours received a lot of praise.

Additional program connected to the Camera Obscura container included visually experiential acrobatic shows and other performances and workshops guided by photographic artist Heidi Lunabba. There were drop in workshops for anyone interested to attend and closed work shops for school groups from the Turku area. The workshops were attended by 120 people during four days.

The press release of the event was sent in the beginning of June. Information about the event was spread through the Facebook page of the event, the web page of Photographic Centre Peri, Finland 100 Years web page and the event calendar of the Turku area. The event got reported by the media in Kamera-magazine, Turun Sanomat newspaper, Kurikka newspaper, Lapuan Sanomat newspaper, Ilkka newspaper, Culture Collective: Turku web publication, Aamuset newspaper and by Turkuposti, the newspaper of the City of Turku.

The container was free of charge for the audience. The project was a part of the Finland 100 Years program in 2017 and was funded by the City of Turku. Camera Obscura container was realised in association with Bonfoton.com.