This oversized book contains twenty-six powerful and psychologically intimate images. Learoyd’s minutely detailed, large-scale color portraits do not look like other photographs. Made with a giant camera comprised of two rooms, Learoyd’s subject (generally a person, though sometimes an object such as a mirror) occupies one room containing a powerful light source, while the photographic paper occupies the adjacent camera obscura (dark room in Latin). Connecting the two rooms is a lens set within a bellows an accordion-like contraption dating from the medium’s first century. The direct-positive images are generous in size and have a subtle tonal range that is reminiscent of Dutch Master painting, though are clearly portraits and studies of our time.
In addition to the twenty-six portraits and still lives, the book includes a number of details illustrating the particular focal characteristics of the camera obscura as well as installation photographs.