Friday, September 30, 2016

Here's a Thing

This guy has an interesting idea, of sorts. The conceit is that there are subjects which are best encapsulated as a sequence of pictures. His example seems to be a sunset or sunrise, but I can readily imagine a sequence of pictures that show a scene with, say, changing seasons or something. One could make a case that, let us say, such and such a valley cannot really be boiled down to one image in any one season, but must be understood as a series of 6 or 7 pictures spread throughout a year.

This fellow then proposes that the proper presentation for these pictures is digital, as a sequence of displayed pictures on a high resolution screen. I think he feels the spacing between the pictures should be quite long, minutes at least, so it's not really a looped video clip, it's something like a slide show, but perhaps slower. Since he does use video to illustrate his ideas, its not clear to me that he actually has a particularly coherent idea here.

Let's assume, though, that he does have a coherent idea. Let us suppose further that what the idea is is this: some subjects demand a sequence of pictures, and there is a natural and correct pacing for those pictures to be show to the viewer.

Ok, well. My stock response is that this sounds a lot like a book, so why not do a book? I think his answer more or less has to be that the book does not particularly enforce pacing, which is true. One can pace things in relative terms, by placing multiple pictures on a single spread, and then a blank page, and then a full-bleed two page presentation of a single picture, etcetera. But one may always leaf through quickly or slowly. One can back up, or dive in at random.

As a personal preference, I despise video and slideshows. Those formats demand my time. Enforcing pacing is just a way to irritate me, and if you want me to slow down, you should make more compelling pictures.

All that said, I do think there's something original and interesting here. The idea of a singular subject, presented as a slowly updated loop of pictures, each just subtly different from the other, does feel like an interesting medium for some subjects. I am torn between thinking that this might be something very good, and thinking that it's jolly well the photographer's job to pick the 1 or 2 or 3 pictures that summarize the essence of the thing and that this is a scam for avoiding that duty.

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