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In a still photo, I am looking for the decisive moment, a suspended moment in time layered with the right light, composition and other contributing factors to tell the story in one frame. With video, one shoots these pieces separately as a sequence of actions and adds audio to carry the viewer from a beginning to an end. For a still photo there is no beginning or end. It’s timeless. I may wait several minutes or hours for all the necessary elements to come together into one photo. When shooting video, I need those same minutes or hours to shoot multiple “images” or clips to string together into the same story.

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He opened the attic door and saw an ugly, green face with HUGE TEETH.
“Who are you?” he cried. “And what do you want?”
“I am Bumburumbum and I am going to eat you!”

The world is constantly changing and I feel like my job is to try to see how it is changing,” he says. “Traditionally images have functioned as representations of something in the world, but we are quickly approaching the point where vast majority of images are produced for other machines and no human being will ever see them. It’s an operational regime of images.

A recent review in the Times spends time on how Reggio’s crew filmed Triska, a resident at the Bronx Zoo, during regular visitor hours. Although at the start it seems like Triska is staring back at the camera in an isolated studio, she is having an average day at the zoo, and the shots were compiled over days. Like a surreptitious peek through a laptop video camera, we are peering directly into a face that does not seem to be aware that it’s being watched. Triska’s countenance, and those of the many other subjects in Reggio’s film, only appears to be performing for the portrait artist. It is, in fact, ignoring us entirely. (via Capturing Slow Portraits of People and Landscapes)

I wonder then, what this new development in photographic technique signals. One brief reflection: It seems perhaps more than co-inicidental that this camera emerges alongside a broader preoccupation with the possibilities of post-hoc analysis of data. There seem uncanny similarities between the idea of a photograph whose subject matter can be manipulated at will by different users of the image, and the promise of open data which seems to offer a newfound freedom to the public as interrogators of multitudes of semi-processed information. Both work with the notion that technologies offer the potential to bring objects which lie at the peripheries of vision into sharp relief. Implicit is the idea that the capacity to focus on new objects will somehow revolutionise our relationship to power, reversing the role of the passive observer by transforming them into active participants in world making processes.

Hannah Knox of CRESC reflects on the new “light field camera”, the Lytro.