Photo Imaging II | Favorite Image

Favorite image

The artist in reference for this assignment is Matthew Pillsbury. Pillsbury is known for his magical long exposures which make viewers face the fleeting nature of time as opposed to asserting presence. In his Screen Lives series, he captures domestic scenes such as someone watching tv, working on computers, using electronic devices etc to address the role of technology in our modern existence today.

I was looking for a way to combine still photography as well as videography without them having to fit into either of the categories. Therefore, I feel that long exposure photography is the key to achieve that – a still image that indicate movement but it stays just that; there is this continued suspension/tension of what’s next? Also, I love that long exposure photography largely depends on trial and error which is similar as film photography where the results are surprising; sometimes I get goosebumps from capturing subjects whose head getting “chopped off”, legs separated etc.

I chose this image because I love how it presents the subject of its desire to be in place – the subject is semi-present at that place looking out to another world as if she is standing in between an abstract space and the real world. (I edited the image in such way to convey the narrative) Just like Pillsbury’s images that are always “shimmering with the ghostly passage of time and enhanced by a spirit of transience”.

The more I practice, I kinda get a sense of what I can expect out of each setting and I think the most important thing is to first have a feel of the location you are shooting – is it an active area where things are moving fast? Are the light sources too harsh for long exposure? An interesting learning point is that I can get an extremely clean area by having a very long shoot as it automatically wipes out all the moving objects! Challenge-wise is to find a location that have a nice range of color palette (unless if you are shooting b&w) and substantial human motion because the colors can be all over the place which is highly disturbing or the subjects walking towards  the wrong directions thus ruining your composition.. In this assignment, I used an ND filter to block off unnecessary light source as well as letting me to work on longer exposure. The filter helps to isolate harsh light making them even stronger which is pretty amazing!

Below are some photos which I feel that the traces of human represent the dialogue between subjects, their activity and the environment.

Photo Imaging II | Perspective

When I was composing my photos in the first series, I found that my subjects were lined up on the ledge, very much organized which I feel that the photo was looking dull/static. Hence I decided to look for something that may give the whole photo an interesting foreground, thus changing the viewer’s perspective – instead of introducing everyone that “my subjects are the tortoises”. By adding the grass as my foreground, it adds a sense of depth. Besides, by moving my camera slightly higher and lower, the photos give an illusion that I was actually moving/approaching the subjects. In the second series, I used both a 24mm lens as well as 200mm telephoto lens. It is interesting to see the difference in the scale!

Photo Imaging II | Light studies

The experience of shooting color reversal film blew me away – not to forget the insanely long processing time, which includes all the worries if I will ever get my film back or are they lost in the mail?? It was such a revelation putting the slides on the light table or even holding them up to the sunlight. They felt a lot more immersive as opposed to looking at normal photos. Also, I hardly ever revisit my film strips once I have digitized them, but slides are the opposite – they just took things to another level. I am reasonably pleased with how most of the photos turned out (a few mishaps.. because I left my tripod at home). Even though working with ISO50 has been quite a challenge, I would love to shoot slides again but this time with 120 film!