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More information about the work The Landscape Seen Through Animal Eyes

Tuula Närhinen: The Landscape Seen Through Animal Eyes, 1999–2002. Installation view. Photo: HAM/Sonja Hyytiäinen.

In her work The Landscape Seen Through Animal Eyes, artist Tuula Närhinen explores the way in which different animals see the world. What does the environment look like through the eyes of a bird, a rodent, a fish, or a moose, for instance? 

Tuula Närhinen uses self-made pinhole cameras. The pinhole camera is a primitive form of camera, where an image is created with the greatest possible simplicity, without the aid of lenses or other advanced technology. The image is produced as light passes through a small pinhole into a dark box which contains light-sensitive paper or film.

In building her cameras, Tuula Närhinen has tried to consider the structure and functioning of the eye of each different animal as far as the pinhole technique will allow it. The artist has also chosen the locations on each animal’s eye level in its natural habitat.

Like the compound eye of a fly, the image produced by this camera is made up of many facets. This model has 48 pinholes.

The bearcam is the biggest of my cameras. Its singlepinhole is placed at the eye level of a bear walking onall fours.

In the hawkcam, the pinhole is at one end of a 90 cmlong tube. The camera is like a telephoto lens whichmakes it possible to photograph prey from far away.

The pupil of a feline constricts to a narrow slit in lightand dilates in the dark. A predator needs good night vision and an effective response to sudden bright light toprevent blinding. In the lynxcam, I have used three different pinholes: in direct light, a narrow slit acts as apinhole; in moderate light, the pinhole is oval; and indim light I have used a large pinhole to increase thelight.

Two pinholes on the sides of a cardboard box together form the moose’s field of vision. The moosecam is positioned at a height of about two metres.

The snakecam’s two pinholes on opposite sides forman image of a space underneath and between boulders.

One pinhole and a curved image surface produce a wide underwater shot of shallow water by the shore.

The ladybirdcam is attached to a plant and can photograph the view along the stem of the plant.

The beecam is a simplified prototype of the insect’s compound eye, with the image made up of 19 or 9 facets.

The hare’s field of vision is exceptionally wide. The hare can effectively use the entire curved surface of its retina and can see far behind it as well as forward, thanks to the positioning of its eyes on the sides of its head. The image of the harecam is made up of two tubular cameras, each with two pinholes.

The camera fits in a vole’s tunnel and makes it possible to document the vole’s view of the outside world from its home.

The birdcam is fitted with a mechanism which can turnthe film inside the camera to photograph a wide panorama from the viewpoint of a bird sitting on the branchof a tree.