‘Other Than’ |Week 2: Interdisciplinary Approach| Positions and Practice

Photography, Time and Motion

What does the moving image tell me about the still photographic image?

With the video being a sequence of still images giving the impression and creation of an animation, it tells me that photography is king, video had to start somewhere and photography was the pioneer.

In my last post I talked about how the photograph and the video can have different effects on the viewers reaction, wether it be a single still photograph or multiple displayed in motion, the time the viewer gets to look at these images is the important factor.

However, long exposure is unique, I feel as if it’s almost a mixture between the both.

A still image, that is moving, but there is no animation.

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The Museum of Modern Art‚ New York (9.8.2001 – 2.5.2003)

I was amazed to find that this image was exposed for a whopping three years in Michael Weselys ‘Open Shutter Project’.

“Since the early 1990s, the German photographer Michael Wesely has been inventing and refining techniques for using extremely long camera exposures to take compelling photographs. Through the use of filters and a very small aperture (yet one that is standard in a professional camera lens), he is able to diminish the amount of light hitting the negative to the point where he can make the exposure last many thousands of times longer than we expect.” – Source

– Image 1 –Image 2

What really interests me about these photos are the phenomenal streaks of light in the sky, whilst I originally though that in the image ‘The Museum of Modern Art‚ New York’  these where the results of cranes in the sky over time, I read that it is actually the sun passing by each day. Its this that really gives me the impression of the movement of time through these photographs which is one of the components Michael wanted to get across, sided with another for me which is the imagination aspect, as the lights falling across made me immediately imagine meteorites arriving from above.

“My long-exposure images question our understanding not only of photography but also our understanding of memory, image, time and imagination and challenge conventions of representation. The process of construction is captured but not the final building, which is only present through its absence.” – Michael Wesely

If it were to be that this was process was captured on video, it would still capture the memory, image and time factors.. However, I think it would loose the imagination aspect that these photographs possess.

 How distinct do I see the still in the moving image nower days?

Nower days I would honesty say that for me, I haven’t noticed that much in films anymore unless it is made it represent a more earlier time when it was used more often. I see there are still many uses for it e.g. When a documentary is dissecting key moments, cctv footage stopped and zoomed for security purposes, a pause on someones face for comedic effect, advertisements and unintentionally when a video is buffering or a videos frames per second lags..

However, whilst researching, I have came across a blend of the two, in a GIF format, the ‘Cinemagraph’, which I think looks amazing. It is classed as a still image which has a selected part of the image that remains in a loop motion. They can be created by using photoshops timeline mentioned in this weeks presentation and according to wikipedia have been around since 2011 created by U.S. photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck.

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Taken from Source

I immediately fell in love with these, having the same time to view the image in stillness the same as a photograph but having that hint of realism included, is ironically somewhat of a mixed response between the both formats, but overall leaning more towards the photography side. Enough time to use your imagination with the touch of realism.

Do the practical Similarities outweigh the theoretical differences?

I’d say no, they both include a lot of moving and lot of waiting, both can require a team and both have a vast range of equipment, although I think film equipment when taken seriously can rack up a high budget overall.

How might I use moving image within my own practice?

If I have the means to, the cinemagraph is something I would definitely want to try.

 

Photography and the Art of Science

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Solar eclipse daguerreotype taken at the Royal Observatory in Konigsberg, 1851 – Johann Berkowski

How has the relationship between photography, science and technology affected how we attribute ideas around knowledge and truth to the photographic image?

Photography of course has played a massive part in providing us with the ability to learn more through science and to a similar point I made in the last post, has been used for evidence to settle the unknown or can also provide false evidence to due to different techniques in editing, double exposures and combination printing. I will give my thoughts over some of the examples provided in this weeks presentation…

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A cyanotype photogram made by Atkins which was part of her 1843 book, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impression

“Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ammonium iron(III) citrate and potassium ferricyanide” – Source

With Atkins work being a brake through for displaying the combination of science and photography, I believe this would have created a gateway to pursue improving the microscope, leading such series as the ‘Photo-micrographs’ created by Arthur E Smith in 1909…

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Image featured from the book Nature through Microscope & Camera Arthur E Smith (1909)

Going back, a selection images that served as evidence and a selection I am visually delighted by is Wilson Bentleys ‘Snowflake Study’…

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Snowflake photos by Wilson Bentley circa 1902 – Image Source

Not only do I think these snowflakes are visually stunning, its fascinating that by capturing over 5000 images in his lifetime he was not able to find two snowflakes being the same as one another. This evidence was only able to be recorded by the photograph as Bentley aged 15 attempted to draw them through gazing down a microscope only to discover they would melt too quickly to be recorded. Age 16 he discovered that the camera can be used with the microscope.

“Snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design; and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind. I became possessed with a great desire to show people something of this wonderful loveliness, an ambition to become, in some measure, its preserver.6″ – Wilson Bentley – Source

Bipolar to Bentleys honest passion and photographic imagery which was able to serve as scientific evidence, William H. Mulmers ‘Spirit Portraits’ were created with manipulation…

It was very interesting to read about the story of Mulmers work which can be found here – The Museum of Hoaxes

The fact that Mulmers was put on trial for the assumption of his ‘Spirit Portraits’ being fake, says to me that people were taking the photograph pretty seriously as a form of truth. Double exposure is a technique I have tried in the past. I have also attempted ghost themed images before whilst helping out a friend for his college photography course, but he unfortunately cannot find them. Below I have an example of my double exposure work using the environment around the subject…

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And finally for this question, Richard Mosses ‘Infra’ series…

Image Source

I absolutely love these images, as mentioned in the presentation, I couldn’t agree more that these photos embrace the possibilities of seeing what is around us that we actually cannot see with the human eye. It is like a spirit realm or visiting another planet. But one of Mosses key features for this series is that it shows a more, bright, colourful, artistic contrast of the rebellions against the war with the Congolese national army, dampening the negativity visually through the use of discontinued military surveillance infra red film. I would like to replicate or edit a similar style of photography in my practice as it creates a very different visual impact to the standard image.

“Richard Mosse brings to this subject the use of a discontinued military surveillance technology, a type of color infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome. Originally developed for camouflage detection, this aerial reconnaissance film registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, rendering the green landscape in vivid hues of lavender, crimson, and hot pink.” –Source

What aspects of technology have had the most profound impact upon the development of photography?

Digital photography as a whole, as I mentioned in my last post, the technology of the smart phone camera has enabled 90% of the population to be able to take photos anywhere at anytime even with out the ambition to become a photographer. Not to mention water resistant camera’s, stabilising equipment and just recently 3D cameras.

Interdisciplinary Approach

How does my practice relate to topics outside the discussions of contemporary photography?

Through out my practice I have been very focused on the just the visual beauty of what I am shooting rather than having a meaning or a message. I have done a mixture of portrait and landscape images the reflect my creative vision but I am sure a selection of my images can relate to topic discussions. (Hover above images)

‘Other Than’ Photography… (Forum Post)

This was an interesting and some what difficult task, something I have never stopped to think about. I love photography for the aesthetic value of a landscape and portraits external beauty whilst capturing the mystery and imagination of their personality. I think maybe my answer to the question of what piece of work relates to my own practice but not being a photograph is that I believe my imagination has always developed from when I used to play video games, one series in particular called ‘Final Fantasy’. Each individual game is a different story and there has now been up to 15 titles. Long story short, they are very atmospheric, each character has a unique back story who I find visually aesthetically pleasing to the eye. My imagination for portraiture runs wild ideas when looking at these.

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Reflection

What has challenged me?

This whole section has challenged me to think away from photography itself as an art and think more in to the meanings and topics that can be discussed around the photograph. I have really had to think deep to come to conclusions.

What has surprised me?

The infra series visually, I did not know this was possible. That an image is capable of being exposed for up to 3 years.

What do I feel I have learned?

That any photo you look at, could always spark a debate around a topic if thought into. I have learnt even more about the history of photography as I was unaware of any of these photos existed beforehand. I have learnt that photo played a big part in the creation of video and it can be used for scientific discoveries.

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