Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time, something to toy with.

video
Our new Time Showreel


Time affects us in many ways, we run our life by it, music is based on time, we mark its passage with rites and ceremonies, and yet the main way that we tend to think about time is based on divisions interpreted by people. It is amazing to me that something that is so abstract and untouchable can be used by us all each day, divided up, possessed by us, then bought and sold.

I became interested in using time as a way to express emotion with photography while still in high school. My friends and I were doing these large, hours-long exposures with flares, big flashlights, boats... well, needless to say they were big productions for a bunch of high schoolers. This experimentation continued in college with things like running a roll of 35mm film all the way to the end, then opening the shutter and rewinding the film to expose it, then contact printing the result.

One of my first experiments with long exposures. 
This is 2 o'clock in the morning at Reidsville Senior High.
Believe it or not but the photo guys had a key to the school.


Since those days I have worked with time-lapse, fast motion, stop motion, frozen moments in time, and motion blur to change how we think about time. My interest has three facets:

1. The technical challenge of getting all the gear dialed in just right, and planning the performance or action. This is the fun of the moment.

2. The visual appeal of how the image looks. If done well, we go beyond a gimmick to something that holds up over time.

3. The emotion - when used in the right context, time is a meaningful story telling element. You have to use the right technique at the right time to make it effective.

All three of these elements take years to learn how to use correctly, and getting them to work together can be difficult. Sometimes it just does not work, but other times when you place one into an edit and add the music, it can seem magical. That is when you forget about sitting in the cold for five hours, the dead battery at the wrong time, and the never ending purchase of hard drives!

I don't understand time, I just hope I have some more of it to play with!