Charming Prospect, 2015, Dawson City, Yukon. Vinyl banners, memorabilia, tourist merchandise, etc.
One of the most famous Camera Obscurae is positioned at the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, England. The view offered is of Queen's House, Christopher Wren's famous Greenwich Hospital complex (now the Old Royal Naval College) and it was described as a "Charming Prospect". It is debatable whether the Camera Obscura was an important tool for astronomers to aid in observations of the moon and stars, but it is known to have been used to observe Solar Eclipses. The image is formed in real time and appears as if by natural magic or through unbiased, scientific, and apparently 'truthful' means.
The work carried out at Greenwich helped to establish Britain's imperial dominance over the world through standardized time-keeping and naval wayfinding. The well-known 'Longitude Problem' was solved through the invention of an accurate time-piece that was unaffected by the vagaries of movements at sea and ultimately enabled navigators to precisely locate their ships, trade routes, and new territories. The founding of Dawson City because of the Gold Rush was the result of similar spirits of exploration, pioneering, and ultimately profit.
The partial and curved view feature a domed building and colonnade and is typical of British imperial architecture. It is surrounded by the blackness of the darkened chamber and could be a direct portal to Greenwich -- like a web-cam made still. The title of the work, itself its own banner companionably displayed nearby, borrows graphic and physical characteristics common to both historic, makeshift, 'frontier' towns and their contemporary manifestations as commercialized tourist sites.
While the image formed by a Camera Obscura is full of colour, it remains faint and less easy to behold when rephotographed. Printed on fabric (vinyl) with only partially light-fast UV inks, the image and text will fade more quickly as a result of Dawson's longer sunlit summer days.
'Prospect' as a verb has obvious associations with Dawson's history of exploration and mining of gold. As a noun, 'Prospect' also signifies 'a view, an expanse, especially of scenery.'"
This project was part of the Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Festival during the summer solstice in June of 2015.
The Charming Prospect Store is open until the Autumnal Equinox of 2015: September 23rd, at 1:21am