Louise's SQA project


A photograph is a moment cut out of the continuum of life. Although any individual image represents a single frozen moment, photography can also be used to reflect the flow of time. To this end, the theme 'As Time Goes By' was chosen to show that time is constantly shifting from one instant to the next by capturing events occurring in a time sequence, making use of a multiplicity of images such as triptychs, polytychs, multiple exposures and photomontages. The approach to this theme was multi-genre and made use of different styles of photography. This gave numerous technical challenges with new photographic techniques, but importantly provided flexibility in creative opportunities but always maintaining the idea of the passage of time.
The idea was simple, to shoot sand flowing through a beautiful hourglass to show the passage of time. A tiny £2 egg timer was used, necessitating the use of a macro lens plus extension tubes to get a good close-up. Due to the poor quality of the egg timer, it was necessary to deconstruct and rebuild it three times to achieve the precision required to keep everything except the sand in the same position as the egg timer was flipped. A shallow depth of field blurred the background colours from a computer screen nicely, providing a good contrast with the sharp edges of the egg timer and black of the back-lit sand.
A whimsical image, making use of Smarties to show the mechanism of cell division as the number of 'cells' doubles each generation. A mutation inevitably occurs. Each shot was made to look like a view down a microscope, a touch of 'blur' gave a more 'realistic' view. The image was planned as a polytych with six panels; the aim was to simulate a page out of a Biology textbook so text layers were added. In fact, this image required striking a balance between making it look as real as possible, while recognising it was anything but real!
The original idea was to shoot the light sequence for a traffic light, but clearly the lights would be up too high to capture effectively. By a stroke of luck, a set of road works was set up right in front of my house, so a very quiet early Sunday morning seemed a suitable time for this photoshoot. The cycle of the lights meant that a polytych with five images was perfectly suitable, giving pleasing (but not perfect) symmetry.
Eadweard Muybridge's "Horse in Motion".
This image is clearly an homage to Eadweard Muybridge (previous image), and I quickly gained a great deal of respect for his efforts in the early days of photography. The aim was to reproduce a Victorian-style scientific motion study using a Slinky toy. A high ISO 1600 gave some graininess and enabled a shutter speed that would stop the motion of the Slinky but still give some blur to emphasise the movement. I made use of the continuous drive on my camera, triggering the shutter using my right hand on the remote shutter release and taking care to keep my left hand in the same position. Attention to 'Victorian' detail was considered during processing; grain and noise layers were added for a vintage quality, as were type layers for authentic looking titles and numbers.
This image made use of the in-camera multiple exposure function and a bounce flash to stop the motion of each individual exposure of the hammer as it changes position with respect to time. The image ‘evolved’ as the photoshoot progressed, starting with merely a nail in the board, and ending up with a bloodied bandaged finger holding the nail. As one hand was needed to operate the camera, the fingers were added separately as a photomontage.
Another whimsical image, a photomontage of three separate shots of my hand showing the time progression of fingers moving across a Yellow Pages phonebook. The image was processed to emphasise the colour of the Yellow Pages by selectively applying a monochrome adjustment layer.
The intention was to show a feather as it falls to the ground as an apparent time lapse. It was constructed as a photomontage of individual shots of the feather taken from different angles. The positioning of the final feather in the sequence was done as a reflection on black Perspex that helps 'ground' the feather, providing a definite finish to the time sequence.
This surreal image was conceived as a polytych with each individual image being a photomontage of a microscope and a 'specimen' under examination. The time progression is clear, with the lowering of the microscope objective onto the specimen, who is getting increasingly concerned about her position!
This image, inspired by the constructed narratives of Duane Michals, was intended to tell a story through the use of a polytych. In the sequence, a young woman has decided it is time to do away with childish things and is regretfully throwing her beloved teddy bear off a cliff. The return of the figure teddy-less in the final image completes the narrative, and makes it clear that her intention was not to go off the cliff with teddy.
Two elements in this image indicate the passing of time – the sequence of the sun rising and the change in position of the hand and zipper. These two components have been assembled in a photomontage to create a surreal series of a hand pulling down the zipper to reveal the rising sun. The selective use of a monochrome adjustment layer adds to the surreal quality.
Tourists arrive, they take their photographs, then leave - but the landscape remains.
Keith Arnatt’s image ‘Self Burial’.
This post-modern image was inspired by Keith Arnatt’s image ‘Self Burial’ (see previous image). But clearly for logistical reasons, I decided to use a Barbie doll rather than dig a hole big enough for myself. The time sequence is clear, as Barbie becomes lower in the ground with each image.