Monday, September 27, 2010

Photography of Time Travel

(the white lines in the sky are a result of the sun moving across the sky and variations in the sun path through the year. photograph sourced from here)
Recently I came across German photographer/artist Michael Wesley's monochromatic photographs that are a part of his open shutter project, which record the image over long periods of exposure sometimes lasting 3 years.
In the past I have also written of Michael Kenna's long exposure photographs in low light conditions giving absolutely stunning high contrast images that beautify the very constraint, the static nature of a photograph. Here the image isnt a split second capture but something that has been and will continue to be. The environments recorded are almost meditative minimal landscapes of silence.

(image sourced from here)
But when a similar methodology gets used in urban environments that attempts to record months of moving images in one frame the result is as magical. Within the greater Order of Things in the branch of still photography I believe it is like discovering dialectically opposite twins.

(image sourced from here)
Michael Wesley's monochrome photographs that continue capturing the image over a period of 2 to 3 years constantly as the glass eye of the camera gazes continuously at one focus and the world around it changes, it instantly transforms into a time machine with its precise control over the speed of light, absorbtion of the memory of the past, experience of the present and dreams of the future on the film. The images thus recorded are as magical as the moving pictures, they record the very ghosts of time, the paths of the sun as it speeds across the horizon, the glare of a glass window on a particuilar day in winter.

(image sourced from here)
I wonder what would it be to have a camera positioned whose exposure time will work through generations, what would one like to focus their eyes on for the next 80 years if they know it will only be their next generation that shall see what it looked like.

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