Cedar and oak camera obscura, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire, 2008
Commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council
Tree of Life is a custom built camera obscura made for Rufford Abbey Country Park, which receives around half a million visitors each year. This small building measuring 4m by 3m and 2.4m high, is clad with western red cedar and oak. The camera obscura has been designed to be accessible to the general public without supervision and requires no electricity, relying purely on natural projection.
The light from outside is focused through a 250 mm diameter glass lens onto a large curved screen within the building to create a very bright, inverted and ethereal panorama. The lens can be pivoted on its vertical axis allowing the public to move the centre of focus across the panorama. A bench is incorporated into the wall opposite the image, so that people can sit and enjoy the view that unfolds.
Update: Tree of Life has recently been decommissioned. It was intended to be shown for 5 years and this was extended to 7 years.