Spying an Ancient Illusion in Greenport, Long Island, NY
The first steps into this small hut by the sea might leave you unimpressed. But then the matron swings the door closed and tells you to gather round the white table in the center of the room, and it’s when she turns off the lights that you’ll realize the true magic of the camera obscura. This device, which dates back to 300 BC, uses light and mirrors to project an image onto a screen (in this case, that white table). You’ll be able to see the surroundings of the ramshackle little building in crystal-clear precision. As the lens rotates 360 degrees, you’ll spy some boats languidly drifting on the water, or lovers walking hand-in-hand down the town’s quaint streets. The scenes may have been different in 300 BC, but the excitement generated by the device remains the same.