Camera Lucida = Art History and Beginnings of Photography

Monday: a friend mentions the Camera Lucida in an email, which I had to look up online. I found a fascinating Youtube video that explained the history of this instrument.

J.-A.-D. Ingres | French painter | Britannica

Jean Dominique Ingre

It is a drawing aid that allows the user to trace an image onto paper while looking through a set of optics – prism and glass. It was suggested by David Hockney in his 2001 book, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, that some of the masters like Ingres, the French painter used the camera lucida.  A theory posed by David Hockney, renown artist and Charles M. Falco, physicist and a specialist in optics is called Hockney–Falco thesis.  However there is a controversy about their theory. For more on this topic please click the link.


Camera Lucida

“The name “camera lucida” (Latin for “light chamber”) is obviously intended to recall the much older drawing aid, the camera obscura (Latin for “dark chamber”). There is no optical similarity between the devices. The camera lucida is a light, portable device that does not require special lighting conditions. No image is projected by the camera lucida.” Retrieved: Wikipedia; April 28, 2020.


A physicist, William Hyde Wollaston  patented the Camera Lucida in 1806. In 1833 another scientist and inventor, and photographic pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot got a brilliant idea.  Fox while using a camera lucida (on his honeymoon) wanted a way to capture the image he saw and have it directly reproduced on paper. Inspired by this idea Talbot “invented the salted paper and calotype processes, precursors to photographic processes of the later 19th and 20th centuries.”  Retrieved: Wikipedia: April 28, 2020.

This brings me to today’s digitally shared images. Friends have sent me photos over this time of staying-at-home. It’s a picture of different parts of time. Visions of reality – past and mostly present.


Bottom photo is of a big mama gator and her baby gator


Misa and Alice the Cat Jan Swanson 4-28-2020

Misa was a rescue dog that came to Jan in pretty rough shape. Little did Jan know, that Misa had a huge health problem that had to do with an incomplete tooth surgery. But thanks to Jan’s persistence and some very good Vets in the Twin Cities her diagnosis and surgery were successful. This is the happy and healthy little dog you see today with her friend Alice.

Thanks to all the friends for their photos from here and there.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Have a good day wherever you may be.


About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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4 Responses to Camera Lucida = Art History and Beginnings of Photography

  1. mydangblog says:

    I’d love a bouquet of tulips like that–gorgeous!

  2. anne leueen says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos.Lots of pets in these photos and I love Misa and Alice.

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