Some Assembly Required: Christian Tonko's camera obscura studio

This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

 Studio camera obscura. Photo: Eduard Hueber

Studio camera obscura. Photo: Eduard Hueber

Christian Tonko, Bregenz, Austria

One of the earliest photographic devices, the camera obsura has been used for centuries to aid artists in their work. Consisting of a box or room with a hole in one side, light enters through the hole and projects an upside-down outdoor scene. From this projection, drawings were often traced onto paper for an accurate reproduction of the scene outside.

 Studio plans

Studio plans

Inspired by this ancient optical device, architect Christian Tonko designed his entire studio as a functioning camera obscura. In essence, the studio is a bright chamber designed to achieve excellent light that can be modified as needed with exterior screens. The structure itself acts as a device similar to a traditional camera obscura and bidirectionally frames its surroundings, functioning as a drawing aid. Built on a hillside, the studio features two levels with separate workspaces. The southeast-facing windows look up the grassy hill, while the northwest-facing window provides a view of the town. Tonko has incorporated raw, untreated materials for an industrial look. Nestled in the beautiful Austrian countryside, Tonko’s studio is a serene space used to create drawings, paintings and sculptures.

 Studio interior. Photo: Eduard Hueber

Studio interior. Photo: Eduard Hueber

 Studio interior. Photo: Eduard Hueber

Studio interior. Photo: Eduard Hueber

View more of Tonko’s work on his website.

Have you made or modified your own photographic equipment? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.