I’ve made some changes to the gallery section of the main web site. Actually, Robin Ward, who writes all the web site code and does all the heavy lifting, made the changes, and I am thankful to her. Anyway, the slit scans that had been in the New Work gallery are now in a gallery called Timescapes. The New Work gallery has been given over to some stitched panos made in Maine and Quebec with a handheld M240 and the 50 ‘Lux, synthetic slit scans of NYC subway cars and soccer players, a few autohalftoned fire house images, and one lonely B&W semi-abstract.
You may notice that the subway images are dated 2011, and wonder how they get to be called new work. I date my images with the moment the exposure was made. These images were originally assembled manually using the visual language of the Staccato series. Last year, I reworked them with computer-driven techniques.
Here’s what I have to say about Timescapes in the artist’s statement:
For the last 25 years, From Alone in a Crowd, with its subject motion, through This Green, Growing Land and Nighthawks, which used camera motion, to Staccato, which stitched together little movies, most of my photography has been about movement in one way or another. Timescapes is explicitly so. In a normal photograph, the three-dimensional world is forced into a two-dimensional representation, with both dimensions representing space. In Timescapes, space is constrained even further, to only one dimension, and time becomes the second. Finish line cameras at racetracks work the same way. In this series, I examine what happens in a one-pixel wide line over a period of a minute or two to several hours.
Since the readers of this blog generally have a more technical bent than the viewers of my general web site, I’ll give you some technical details about how I did the work.
I started with a Betterlight scanning back on a Linhof or Ebony view camera. The back has a 3×6000 pixel sensor array that is moved across the image plane with a stepper motor. There’s a panoramic mode built into the Betterlight software. In that mode, the software expects that the camera is installed on a motorized rotary platform. It instructs the stepper motor in the back to position the line sensor in the center position, and leaves is there while it sends instructions to the motor in the platform to slowly spin the camera.
So how do I turn this back into a slit scan camera?
I lie to the software.
I tell it that the camera is on a rotary platform, when in fact it is stationary. Any changes to the image that the line sensor sees are the results of changes in the scene. From this simple beginning stems many interesting images.