Photography & Video
Giant Interactive Camera Obscura

Stephen Takacs has created Target Six-16, a human-sized, interactive camera obscura installation to give the public an inside look at one of the world’s oldest photographic devices.

A camera obscura is a box or room with a hole in one side that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, and turned upside down to show us what our eyes see before our brains correct an image. With the help of the Columbus Idea Foundry’s assistant director, Casey McCarthy, and Brittany Lawson, a local artist and small business owner with a studio at 400 West Rich Studios, the three were able to collaborate, split up tasks, and create Target Six-16.


The camera stands at 5’ x 8’ x 7.5’ and viewers can enter it and experience a real time view of the world turned upside down through the lens of a camera. Part of Takacs’ interest with sharing his project is the opportunity to give back. “I hope to create experiences that are engaging, educational, and inspiring,” Takacs said.


On the front of the camera there is a lens and a small infrared motion senor that is connected to the camera shutter. When movement activates the sensor, an electric motor opens the shutter allowing light to enter the camera via the lens. The camera’s lens projects an upside-down image of the exterior world onto a semitransparent fabric screen found on the interior of the camera obscura. Viewers can physically move and manipulate the screen to alter the focus of the image or simply enjoy the view of the world turned upside down.

Designed from a full-sized prototype, Target Six-16 was constructed with portability in mind. It is comprised of aluminum pipe, Kee Lite fittings, and a water-resistant skin. Designed like a tent, the camera can flat pack to a small size that can fit into a car. In addition to being an immersive sculptural art installation, Target Six-16 is also a functional camera, capable of developing photographs. The first images were made using large 16″ x 20″ pieces of ortho film that had to be contact printed to make a positive image.

Stephen is currently running a campaign on IndieGoGo to raise support for the transportation and materials necessary to bring this exhibit to more and more locations.