My research has led to an interest in the Claude mirror.
‘A pre-photographic, landscape-viewing device, used by romantic artists and connected with the Picturesque Movement. The artists stood with their back to the scene looking at it through the small black convex mirror. The reflection framed and transformed the view, distorting perspective, altering colour saturation and compressing tonal values. This resulted in a loss of detail but gave an overall unification of form and line.’
The seeming absurdity of refracting and reflecting nature in this fashion is balanced by the beauty and seductiveness of the mirror’s optical effects.
The Claude mirror references the relationship between desire and the fabrication of place, between the body and the environment. Linking the mirror with contemporary popular culture, tourism, snapshots, web-based security and surveillance technology, exposes the ongoing mediation of nature through technologies of vision.
It reveals the layered, culturally determined nature of the gaze. It draws attention to the complex mediation between looking and mark-marking, framing and representation, as well as the many interventions that occur between apprehending and understanding landscape. (Extract from here an interesting project to revive this device)
I discovered this website describing how to make your own Claude glass from a convex lens. This made me consider a way subvert this process and what effect would be attained by painting the lens with fluorescent colour instead of black.
Today I acquired a lens from an old OHP projector and painted it with the flourescent orange. Here is the result.
I consider the object to be a beautiful thing in its own right reflecting the light in the glass roof in a compelling manner.
I visited the ferry viewing car park this evening to try out the mirror and see how the view looked through it. The results were not too strong and quite hard to see from certain angles.
I think this might have been because the sunset was so bright, I believe I will get better results with more even lighting conditions. I can see possibilities for development here and so will continue to explore.