Navicula Obscura (Darkened Boat)

Making a boat into a camera!

A project by artist & photographer Steve Rayner to record a journey on an 18th century piece of civil engineering (the Leeds Liverpool Canal) using a popular 18th Century optical device(the camera obscura).

Featuring Narrowboat “Rahab” and a cast of assorted volunteers

Monday 25th October – Starting at Airedale Boat Club, Crossflatts
Morning – Assemble and test the cameras obscura on the boat
Afternoon – Cruise to Saltaire passing Bingley 5 rise & 3 rise locks, Bingley town centre, The Fisherman pub on Primrose Lane (behind Beckfoot School), Dowley Gap locks, Hirst Wood Lock, Salts Mill and on to Shipley, turning just before the dock swing bridge off Dockfield Road, and returning to Saltaire.

Tuesday 26th October
Cruise back up Hirst lock, Dowley Gap locks by the Fishermans pub, through Bingley town, up the Bingley 3 Rise & 5 Rise locks, continuing past the moorings at Crossflatts and on to Stockbridge near Keighley, and if time allows mooring near Silsden.

Wednesday 27th October
From Stockbridge (or Silsden if we got that far) continue to Kildwick, passing through the road bridge and turning at Farnhill, returning towards Bingley and all being well arriving back at Crossflatts in time for tea.

This is intended to be a paricipatory project, and visitors are welcome, and indeed may be necessary to help with some parts of the journey. Bring your cameras, bring some biscuits or cakes (I’ll have the kettle on permanently), join in and see how the most basic of cameras works – and how to make one yourself.

Just in case you’re wondering – it will happen whatever the weather. All timings are approximate and dependent on the weather and functioning canal equipment.

Throughout the journey we will be stopping to capture images with the onboard equipment – this will be open for anyone who is interested to have a look and see what’s happening. Be aware that as with all activities on the waterways we need to be aware of potential dangers so visitors will need to abide by instructions they are given for their own and others’ safety.

A diary will be posted on my blog –
and on Flickr –

Once the project is complete the resulting images will be printed using one of the first stable photographic printmaking media, gum bichromate (photo aquatint) and exhibited at a venue to be confirmed.

1 Response to Navicula Obscura (Darkened Boat)

  1. Pingback: Update: New Exhibition Venue | East Street Arts presents…

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