Exercise 1.1 Capturing stillness and movement

Choose a subject that includes both stillness and movement. Seek out a variety of different instances of this subject. Make a series of photographs that shows the visual effect of stillness and movement  within these different but similar settings.

The brief suggested checking out the work of Toshio Shibata which was interesting. It also posed the questions as to whether the image would communicate any other ideas – symbolic or metaphoric. This was something I wanted to give some thought to. In the past, in general photography lessons and projects I have stood at the side of the road capturing cars going past both during the day and at night. I have also stood at the water edge watching rivers and sea begin to haze. So I really didn’t fancy doing this again. Technically they can be interesting projects, but generally they don’t excite me greatly. The variation in shutter speed or essentially time becomes the deciding factor in changing the structure, or essence of the image. So though the brief talks about stillness and movement the central crux of the brief is really a representation of movement or lack of movement through time.

This representation of time led me to think of the work of Michael Wesely. I have included a couple of links to his work below. These ultra-long exposures (between 2 and 3 years) show the moment, development, stillness of buildings and skylines as they change during the period. So it made me think how I could show this movement of time, keeping some stillness and fluidity but in the vein of Wesley.

Wesely has built a camera that allows for 2 year exposures – as you might imagine, I don’t have one of these. Also I planned on getting this exercise in some point before the tutors lose patience with me. Plus I didn’t want to totally copy the guy so tried to align his capturing of building projects work with my current exposure to building projects. With two small children most of my building time is spent on lego and coloured bricks – so this is what I did. This allowed me to do exposures typically over a minute long, with variations of building up, knocking down, rebuilding etc. By replacing and overlaying I could see how the colour of one brick exposed over another coloured brick created a third colour – actual colour theory by plastic brick. I tried both moving my hand while building and keeping it still. Wesley manages to capture the contrast between something so permanent as a building project yet an image so ephemeral – I tried to maintain that light ephemeral look, whilst knowing that my buildings like any kids building blocks would never be permanent. I quite like the idea of using objects that are a) around me, around most of us, so generally rather common, plus b) not generally seen in art works. So I guess we get something along the Jeff Koons etc type idea of turning banal objects into high art images or icons.

block8Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 34 secs


Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 90 secs


Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 80 secs


Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 80 secs


Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 44 secs


Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 86 secs


Above : ISO100, f5.6, exposure time 67 secs

Further reading:


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