Time & photography: stopping, compressing, slowing – amazing

Posted in: Contemporary Photography- Jan 12, 2012 Comments Off

Photographer and techno-wizard Adam Magyar has been working on a tricky time-based photographic series entitled Stainless since 2009. For this series, Magyar takes tack-sharp photographs of moving subway trains that look like they are stopped still. Owing to the technique he uses [compiling thousands of high-speed single pixel scanner images into one image], in the photograph below, it is impossible to see with the human eye what he is able to stitch together from high-definition slivers of reality — what you see at the left side of the train actually happened 12 seconds earlier than what you see on the right side of the train.

Recently, Magyar made this slow motion video to give an idea of how much time passes — and how much motion and activity takes place — during the making of one of his high-tech compressed images. The video shows how people inside the subway trains could see the platform and the people waiting there if the human brain could process what his camera can.

This clip contains 3 arrivals of Subway U2 to Alexanderplatz. It takes about 12 seconds for a train to leave the tunnel and stop at the station. These arrivals each are stretched in time to more than 8 minutes.

Magyar says: “With this video, all those magical scenes become visible that have captivated me from the very beginning. I also appear in the crowd with my camera taking images of the arriving train.”

For more info about Adam Magyar, visit his very cool website (which includes an ingenious magnifying device to see sharp details), or visit a current exhibition of his prints in Berlin. You can see some of his earlier work in the Lens Culture archives here and here.

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A supposed still image of a moving subway train car. From the series, Stainless, © Adam Magyar. The actual printed image is 1.2 meters high.

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Detail from the image above, © Adam Magyar
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