Motionless Motion with Emotion

I’m not over this cold yet, but I am back to work. On my plate today is continuing to explore movement in still photography. I find it interesting that our minds can make the leap between seeing an image of a blurred object, and knowing that what we’re actually seeing is an object in motion. It’s not how we see motion, yet we know that’s what’s pictured. Has the human mind always been able to make this leap, or is it only through conditioning and repeated viewing that we now recognize the blur for what it is?

On the flip-side, when we see a photo of something perfectly frozen in mid-motion, our first reaction is often momentary confusion. If you see a picture of a person jumping, and both feet are caught off the ground, it often causes a double-take moment where you have to engage your brain to decipher what you see. How is that person frozen in mid-air? Why does their hair seem to defy gravity? Similarly, when we see super-slo-mo video depiction of fast movement, we suddenly see details we never imagined were happening – it seems unreal, but because we’re seeing the full movement we don’t questions whether it’s real. It’s just an undeniably weird thing to see. The Discovery Channel has a fascinating series on movement called Time Warp.

A different take on movement comes from an arts collective in Los Angeles that goes by the name of Syyn Labs. They did brilliant work last year in creating a Rube Goldberg machine for the song This Too Shall Pass by Ok Go. The video has been a huge YouTube sensation, and really good fun.

There are my thoughts on movement and still photography for today. Now I’m going to take advantage of the beautiful day we’re experiencing and get myself in motion to go find some interesting movement to photograph.

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