Ingrid Pollard (2015)

Ingrid Pollard
The Importance of Sight/te

Material process and visual experimentation in photography can be a social practice, a means of encounter with others and a means of interpretation. I am interested in how the wonder of photography can be a way to involve others in its process. I am working with the camera obscura and visual optics. This has and will involve making a mobile camera obscura tent and transforming rooms into one; exploring light and darkness; the visible and the invisible, through creative activities and making.

When I started the In-Situ residency, I knew I wanted to record images at the mill and in the town. In the past years I had been exploring early photography tools and methods in combination with digital technologies.


When I went to Brierfield for a conference in 2013, I wondered, if I had the opportunity, how would I work with the vast, unique space that is the mill.

I knew of Nelson in regards to CLR James and his involvement with the strikes by mill workers in the 1930s/40s; equally his passion for cricket and through his friendship with Sir Learie Constantine – when they shared a home while he was playing for Lancashire cricket team.


During my first stay at Brierfield in April, I cycled round the area, – bike courtesy of Paul Fyles (Site Manager at Northlight Mill) – found Nelson library for local & cotton history in the area, and had the delux tour of Brierfield mill, the spooky basement, the heights of the clock tower, canals and water… water everywhere. I was searching for dark chambers and dark spaces that would let me experiment with the various lenses I had accumulated and was investigating light sources I had discovered within the Mill’s spaces.

I investigated possible means of constructing a mobile camera obscura tent that was able to be easily transported and set up in the Mill and in and around Brierfield.


​Dark spaces in lifts, cupboards, storage rooms, under stairs.


Using the camera obscura is a way of revealing a moving outside world, while being inside the camera. The animated images projected onto the interior sheet are an image that is both upside down and back-to-front. This is in fact just the way our eyes record what we see in the world, of reflected light on to our retina, upside down and back-to-front.


Our extraordinary brains can account for this and makes sense of this; rights this ‘back-to-front & upside-down- ness’ so we see the world the way we experience it.


In a way the camera obscura reveals the working of our brain.

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