Nagaon Beach

In December 2000, Indian Architecture and Builder commissioned me to teach an architects’ workshop entitled Frames and Architecture. The project was perfect as the camera obscura naturally brings the two disciplines of photography and architecture together.

With the intellect of architect Bijoy Jain and the talents of his team of local carpenters, we built an ark camera obscura on Nagaon beach, the shape of the obscura mirroring the horizon. The build took place over three days and nights and was completed the night of the full moon at high tide. The morning the workshop was due to take place, the fast approaching tide had the camera obscura inches deep in seawater. A call for help was circulated and was heard by all asunder, within 15 minutes the ‘dabba’ which translated means box, was carefully moved by 20 locals, metres up to safety, onto a small clearing at the end of a forest. The view from here of the trees on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other was stunning and incredibly peaceful.

I shall always remember this project as involving a great deal of waiting, as being romantic and pure. It was a special moment in India.

Nilu 2011