Transient figures

The blurring of passing people has proved an interesting challenge: to decide the right amount to anonymise people on private property, but still retain a degree of recognisability. I want to keep some character, to suggest who they are, what they look like, but with enough abstraction to allow sufficient scope for the viewer’s imagination. Images on the public street don’t have the same restrictions of privacy (in the U.K.), but I still prefer some blur to show movement, direction and temporality.IMG_0017_13det1.jpg

The image above is a detail from a larger image (below)

IMG_0017_13 copy

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Manchester Museum collage

This is approximately half (right-hand side) of a longer series. Linear collage breaking ‘4th wall’ by including people close to camera. Exposures at different times reflected in changing light, clouds and shadow angles. Oxford Road, Manchester, U.K. 2017

mcr museum pano

Source references with citations: paper presentation in Berlin 30/10/2014

And Yet Still, it Moves.

References for conference presentation Berlin 30th October 2014
Derek Trillo MA ARPS

‘[architectural photography]…the craven image, a lifeless piece of flattering deception foisted on an unsuspecting public by an unholy alliance of architect, photographer and art editor’ (Elwall 1991 quoting Tom Picton, p 63)

Reference to Tom Gunning’s ongoing dialogue with the ‘truth claim’ of photography:
To represent “truth”, it must resemble the object it represents, which is not an inevitable characteristic of an index. (Gunning 2004)

”…photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again,” (Bourdieu 1996, p 136, paraphrasing Henri Cartier-Bresson)

‘…in order to catch another layer of reality and not to render the real idealistic.’ (Meireis 2012).

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Fifth International Conference on the Image, Berlin 29-30 October 2014

I’ve just applied to present a paper at this conference – the abstract is below:

Yet Still, it Moves: How Can Still Images Represent a Temporal World? 

This paper challenges the notion that photography can best fulfil Gunning’s ‘Truth claim’ when produced by instantaneous capture. In our temporal world, experiences are not constrained to single moments in time, ‘decisive’ or otherwise. Continually evolving, multiple perceptions form experiences, modify memories and inspire imagination.

Henri Bergson’s philosophy was grounded in the idea that thinking dominated by spatial metaphors is a category error, because temporality is crucial to our understanding of lived experience.

The paper critiques conventional architectural photography, a profession in which images attempt to arrest time at a building’s completion, portraying them as pristine, lifeless shells. I contrast this with my own practice: multiple digital images, reconstituted into single frames. Intended to inform both architectural design and research, this practice builds on the lived experience of architecture, expressed as an accumulation of encounters.

I argue that, contrary to established opinion, constructed images using digital technologies present a credible alternative, albeit a mediated one. This methodology elaborates on Bergson’s understanding of temporality and Deleuze’s concepts of experiential time. Lying on the indistinct boundary between still and moving images, my practice is informed by Kracauer’s ‘flow of life’,referring to cinema’s ability, over stills, to capture the essence of life.

Paper proposal

Update: Paper accepted

Yesterday I submitted a proposal for a paper on the mediation of Architecture by photography for the Space and Place: Exploring Critical Issues conference at Oxford University in September:

The great architectural swindle: The mediation of architecture via architectural photography.

In 1979 Tom Picton dismissed the contemporary architectural photograph as,

…the craven image, a lifeless piece of flattering deception foisted on an unsuspecting public by an unholy alliance of architect, photographer and art editor’ (Elwall 1991).

Thirty-five years later little has altered: buildings are routinely represented as lifeless, pristine sculptures; forms without functions; structures in isolation from neighbouring buildings and the spaces in between. Architecture is seen through photography, in a stifled form, thereby failing its audience. This paper challenges the convention that architecture should be mediated through photography as empty shells.

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