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Memories of Cuba: Abelardo Morell and the Camera Obscura

By Alison Chang
  • RISDM 2005-84

Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura Image of Havana Looking Southeast in Room with Ladder, 2002. Mary B. Jackson Fund, by exchange

This photograph holds special significance for Cuban-born artist Abelardo Morell, as it was created during the first trip he had taken to his homeland since he fled Castro’s regime with his family in 1962.

To make this image, Morell transformed a room into a camera obscura, an optical device that preceded the modern camera which projects its surroundings onto its interior walls. In this room-sized version, the landscape outdoors is projected, upside down, on the interior.

We recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Mr. Morell about this photograph. His insights and memories about the work and the experience of making it provide an invaluable dimension to our understanding of the piece.