Over the past 10 years, I have pursued and developed a technique called slitscan photography. Far from being just a visual curiosity, it has become a substantial tool for the exploration of themes meaningful to me. I have found slitscan photography to be an excellent vehicle for ideas central to my work--ideas about time and our place in its continuum.
It is important to understand that my images are not manipulated. This is the way the slitscan camera sees the world.
For the most part, photographers have applied their craft to the imitation of the real world. The camera has been used to capture a frozen slice of time, arresting a single instant from its place along the flow of the time line.
Rather than suspending a single moment, my photography examines the passage of time. To accomplish this, I invented a modern digital version of the panoramic camera. In my version, a single sliver of space is imaged over an extended period of time, yielding the surprising result that unmoving objects are blurred and moving bodies are rendered clearly. The model in the studio must move in order to be captured. In the Water series, the stones in the river do not move, and so, become stripes. The water flowing past them perturbs their static image, creating a kind of color field painting. This is no trick. This is photography in the purist sense, but a form of photography where abstraction is the norm, not the exception.
Instead of mirroring the world as we know it, I believe this camera records a hidden reality. Like a microscope or telescope, the machine expands our ability to perceive more about the nature of reality. The apparent “distortions” in the images all happen in-camera. So, when the real world is this beautifully bizarre, manipulation is unnecessary.
I tease out this unusual reality lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday visual experience in the same way the cubist painters created dynamic tension by exploiting the interplay between what the viewer expects and what she gets. As photography is traditionally the rendering of real-world objects in two dimensions, that same creative tension arises in my work because, in effect, it discards the horizontal dimension and substitutes for it the fourth dimension, time.
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