Temporal Expressions – Research

For our temporal expressions task (which is to take photographs experimenting with fast and slow shutter speeds) i conducted some research into elements of these photographic processes.

David Hockney:

David Hockney, born in 1937 is a British painter, draughtsman, printmaker and most importantly a photographer who is best known for his uses of vibrant colour with his landscapes and portraits.

He is the founding practitioner of ‘joiners’ a photographic technique that involves taking many photos of the same subject at different view points. He then combines or overlaps the images to re-create the subject with an abstract and collage like finish, overall i think that the technique allows photographers to really ‘create’ to photo instead of merely take an shot of a single moment. Hockney first started this technique with polaroid prints, which he would collage together manually on a canvas. Below is an example of one of his early works:

Furstenberg - Paris

He then later went into using digital programs like Photoshop to collage the images together. One of his most famous works “Pearblossum Highway, 11th to 18th 1986 No.2” collages thousands of photos of the California State Route 138 Highway and is 78 x 111 inches large:

Hockey was largely influenced by Cubism, an artistic movement that was invented by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque between 1907 and 1914 Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, 2000 (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cube/hd_cube.htm). Cubism paintings are largely used to represent objects and people in a abstract way, below is an example of a cubism painting by Braque in 1910 called “Violin and Candlestick”:


Hockney was inspired by the two main themes of cubism which is Space and Time, as works of cubism can reflect these two themes effectively he wanted to create a form of photography that can also reflect these elements. Hockney states that a photograph cannot represent a progression of time or space as photos only present a static or single moment. He feels that joiner photos not only present these themes, but also a narrative that audiences can see progress when they look at the photo.

The theme of narrative is present in Hockney’s earliest works such as My house, Montcalm Avenue (1982) Which can be seen as a photographical journey through his house. In Fredda Bringing Ann and Me a Cup of Tea (1983) a simple narrative can be seen of the journey down the house’s steps into the garden.

Other works of his which could reflect a narrative as well as a progression of time would be a joiner he took of two people having a conversation in japan:


The way Hockney has combined all of the mens facial expressions that were expressed during the conversation at different times means that the entire conversation is present in the photo, representing a progression of time as well as a narrative in the photo. Hockney’s joiners also involves a spatial aspect, as in Pearblossum Highway (as seen above) could represent a theme of space as there are only traffic signs on the right side of the photo, implying that the right side is the view of a driver compared to the left which mainly contains scenic elements which is normally the view of the car’s passenger.

Long exposure photography:

Long exposure photography involves having a DLSR camera take a photo with a long shutter speed time so all the light that is exposed to camera is picked up and shown in the image. This means that if there is a moving light path in the subject of the photo, the light is shown from every position the light was in, making lines or blurs instead of static shots of the light source. There are different types of images you can take with this technique including light painting:


For light painting it is recommended that the shutter speed is between 5 to 30 seconds depending on how dark the environment is, this is because if there is too much light being absorbed by the lens the photo can appear comepletely white. it is also recommended that the aperture (the size of the lens release hole) is set between f/8 to f/32 and the ISO (or light sensitivity) is set between 100 to 200. In the photo above, actors are posed statically throughout the shutter speed time and a third person ‘draws’ the light with a torch to create the effect.

Motion Blur:

Motion blur photos uses light that is not created by the photographer, in other words, light that is naturally occurring like the headlights of cars travelling across a road:


Fast Shutter Speed/Short Exposure:

Fast shutter speed photographs include setting the shutter speed to a very short time so that a event that only lasts a fraction of a second can be captured effectively. Examples include a water droplet colliding with a surface of water and a bubble bursting mid way:

105441_orig fast-shutter

Fast shutter speed photos can be more difficult than slow shutter speeds as a lot of light needs to be absorbed by the lens which is only open for a fraction of a second (sometimes 400th of a second or lower). This means that the environment in which the photo has been taken must be rigged with a lot of artificial lights (such as lamps or specialised photography lights) if this is not done the image can appear completely black.


Cinemagraphs are still photographs but with one moving element that is kept on repeat, it is a photographic process that can only be accomplished by using entirely digital means. Cinemagraphs are captured by either taking lots of consecutive photos or with a video recording that is then put through a software application that loops frames and publishes it as an animated GIF:


The Parallax Effect:

The parallax effect is where a still photograph is taken and elements of the photo is split up into layers which is then put through a compositing application such as After Effects and then animate the camera moving through the image. The end result is a moving image that appears to be three-dimensional, below is an explanatory video by Joe Fellows:


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