1/200th Of A Second is a media, photography-based art project investigating the psychological and physiological impact the camera can exert on the human body.
The project also looks at the attitudes contemporary culture has towards the camera, photographic images, and the potential distribution of these photographic products using Net based channels.
Through the use of paparazzi-style photography, both in execution and in its aesthetics, the project creates an highly compressed scenario that forces its subjects to react in an instant to the camera whilst contemplating on the implications of having their image captured without their prior permission. This implicates discussions on the photographic capture with that of what is considered private and public.
To say that our contemporary culture is saturated with lens-based images is to state the mere obvious. Yet as obvious the situation is, its implications is something we have yet to fully grasped. New and better image capture technologies are constantly developed, new laws dealing with photographs and its associated issues are passed, new distribution platform and channels are created – the situation is dynamic and in flux.
It is this dialogue that 1/200th Of A Second hopes to contribute to – adding to the ongoing conversation about the how we can approach understanding and engaging the production and application of lens-based images in progressive contemporary culture.
#1 – The paparazzi press
The project’s working methodology and aesthetic borrows heavily from that of the paparazzi. Engaging the subject directly on the street with a camera in hand and the application of direct flash to illuminate the subject. The approach is confrontational in nature and the photographer’s intentions are made obvious.
#2 – Bruce Gilden
Image taken from http://www.flickr.com/groups/onthestreet/discuss/72157631750358357/
The project also references the work and shooting style of American photographer Bruce Gilden, who boldly photographs his street subjects at arms length and with a direct flash pointed at them. While controversial, the images produced have been noted for their unique and interesting perspective, lighting and compositional qualities.
By applying a similar working methodology, the project catches the subject reacting in an instant as the flash fires and their picture is recorded. But by presenting the images in a sequence, it locates the reaction in time and space and enable us to look at the encounter as it developed and from different perspectives (created by the use of multiple cameras each positioned differently).
The project is executed through the use of a paparazzi swarm – a collective body of multiple but indistinct photographers acting as one.
The swarm creates multiple viewpoints and a many-to-one or many-to-few encounter. The capture of multiple viewpoints allows the viewer to look at the subject reacts from varying perspectives, negotiating the instance in time and space, in an otherwise flattened out encounter.
The inclusion of multiple photographers to form the swarm also heightens the encounter as the subjects are outnumbered become unable to physically resist the encounter (i.e. it being more difficult to stop multiple cameras and photographers at one go). This serves to compress and apply additional pressure to the photographic encounter and this may become useful in eliciting a more reflexive and intense reaction from the subjects.
Role Of The Viewer
The role of the viewer in this project is at once both passive as it is active.
Passively, the viewer is watching the performative aspects of the work (e.g. the paparazzi swarm closing in on a subject), acting as an observer of the event. The viewer is also in a more traditional passive stance, when they encounter the presentation of the work after its completion.
However the viewer moves into a more actively state when they become the subjects of these photographs. Their every reaction is codified into an aesthetic image through the application of the frame, lighting and image recording. What they do in that instance as they react to the cameras becomes materialised and is placed under scrutiny of the still frame.
This duality in the roles that the viewer can play puts forth an interesting tension between the two states and raising questions about the interlocking relationships between the two.
What happens when one swiftly transits from the passive into the active state? Is there shock, or indifference?
How does being in these two contrasting states of participation in the work create a dichotomy in how the viewer approaches and accesses the work?
These are the questions that the project hopes to explore and raise.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Click through the following link to see the gallery of images: