Project 2: A durational space

In the first part of this project we are asked to think about the problem of capturing movement within a still image.  A number of photographers  attempt to resolve the problem by “leaving a trace of movement within the frame”  and we are then tasked with researching how individual photographers approach this topic.

Robert Capa

Robert Capa is famous for his iconic capture of the D-Day landings in Normandy during WW2.  At first I was sceptical that Capa had deliberately blurred the shots  and I was more convinced the pressure of the situation was more likely to have affected how quickly the photographer had had to decide on camera settings.  However, further research on  revealed that although he used blur in other D-Day landing photos, there are others which are not as blurred.  Additionally there is a shot in Barcelona during an air raid warning where Capa uses the same technique.

via Magnum Photos Photographer Portfolio. (accessed 1/2/16)

So clearly this is a deliberate attempt to increase the intensity of the shot.


Robert Frank

Elevator Girl by Robert Frank Linked image (accessed 1.2.16) is another image cited for is use of motion blur –see final paragraph.

Hiroshi Sugimoto

When I first viewed Contacts film I had difficulty understanding what was happening and what Sugimoto was trying to achieve.  I then looked at his website where under his portfolio tag he provides us with an explanation of what he was trying to communicate.  He wanted to capture a whole movie in one frame and so with a wide open aperture he set up his camera and left the aperture open for the duration of the film.  Because the moving image on the screen is fast the end result is a white screen.  This creative use of extremely slow speeds to portray movement is interesting.  Most photographers using slow speeds  end up with images that are more recognisable e.g. blurred or smoky water, light trails of vehicles, blurring of moving backgrounds.

However, Michael Wesely used shutter speeds of up to 3 years and claims he can use expose for 40 years.  The link in the course notes is no longer available but I was interested to see what such a long exposure produces so I Googled Michael Wesely and found the link below. (accessed 1/2/16)

Some of the interesting aspects of these images is the way the changing light because of the position of the sun over the period of time producing diagonal lines and the ghostly images within the image of buildings and some vague people movement in the Construction of the Museum of Modern Art image.

We are asked to consider “Can the shutter create psychological drama in an image” in the course notes and  Mike D’Angelo’s review of  Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express (1994) commenting on how Wong Kar-Wai turned 22seconds into an eternity  is cited.

The scene in the movie is of a cop drinking a cup of coffee whilst being watched by the waitress who served him.  There is no dialogue and it appears to add nothing to the movie D’Angelo claims that it could be cut from the movie and it would have no effect.  But what is happening in the shot is very powerful, we are in fact led into the thoughts of the waitress because of the expression on her face and the “long” period of time she watches the cop. .

The same could be said of Robert Frank’s “Girl in an Elevator” where a dreamy doe eyed lift attendant is quite obviously day dreaming whilst letting people out of the elevator and the viewer is encouraged to imagine about what. It seems that by capturing movement it is quite possible to create psychological drama.  Francesca Woodman’s use of blurred images to hide her identity and producing a ghostly feel to the shots.  Woodman uses prolonged exposure to produce a surreal feel to the images.





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