The Mystery of the Ames Room at Camera Obscura

Did you know that you can shrink and grow at ease in our Ames Room? Here’s how!….

The first Ames Room was built in 1935 by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr. However, it is thought the concept of the Ames Room was inspired from the German physician Hermann Helmholtz in the 1800’s.

Here comes the spoiler alert…..the Ames Room isn’t actually cubic in shape, it’s trapezoidal! The walls and ceiling are sloped and the floors are built on an incline which creates a forced perspective. This, when viewed at the right angle, tricks your brain into thinking one person is considerably taller than the other.

TONY MARSH

The Ames Room – picture by Tony Marsh

It has proved so effective that it has been used to create special effects in many Hollywood movies. Ever wondered how they made the Hobbits look so small next to Gandalf? Yup, that’s right, all done using the same technique! (Sorry to spoil the Shire magic for you all!)

Want to share your photos of the Ames Room? We would love to see all the creative posing we know our visitors do!

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