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— urbantick

Tag "photography"

What does science look like? This might evoke black and white images of the cities and sixties showing male scientists in white lab coats bent over a table where some assistant has layed out various tools and models. Materials are steel, chrome, glass and colourful plastic. Shown in the background is probably a black board with some formulas and equations written on.

But what does science really look like, today? In a new Lars Müller Publishers publication Andri Pol shows the reader some inside glimpse of one of the biggest scientific research labs in the world. In Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research he has been documenting work and live in and around CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

Inside Cern 'layered equations' p.233
Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘layered equations’ p.233.

Andri Pol is a Swiss freelance photographer with a specific focus on the everyday. This is also how he portraits the places, labs, offices, scientists and atmospheres at CERN, with great curiosity and respect.

There are no pretty pictures to be found in this documentation and there are no glorious moments. Its all about the effort, the struggle and the dedication. Flipping though the pages only unveils a great range of colours and oddly chosen angles or frames. The book does not work that way. The photographs are actually rather complex compositions with a lot of depth each with not just one but often a number of aspects.

Whilst there is a lot of equipment and machines visible there is an emphasis on the people who are involved at CERN in some way. Being this the scientists, indeed sometimes in white overcoats and blue shoe protectors, technical staff or students. People from all over the world come together at CERN working in teams. This is often shown, science is discussion and exchange.

The documentation portraits also the atmosphere at CERN. Beside the highly technical installations there is very little shiny and new infrastructure. In fact most of the facilities seem to be rather pragmatic and often improvised. It is clear the focus is somewhere else. This place is not about design and style, but about customablilty, flexibility and improvisation. That does not mean that self expression is absence. On the contrary the numerous portraits of individualised desks, doors, books and computers themselves tell a story.

Inside Cern 'calibrate' p.243
Image taken from klatmagazine / ‘calibrate’ p.243.

Only on the last few pages the photographs stet to show some of the machinery of the actual Large Hadron Collider (LHC), photographs that look similar to what is usually circulated in the meadia. By that point the reader is already so deep immersed in the atmosphere at CERN that is seems to be most natural thing to walk past this monster of infrastructure that doesn’t even fit on a photograph. In many ways all the other photographs tell a much more telling tale of the LHC than the tons of steel, cable and concrete.

Inside Cern 'thinking' p.249
Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘thinking’ p.249.

This being a Lars Müller Publisher publication it does not come as a surprise that this is a very beautifully made book. A lot of care has gone into the design of the book and the selection of the photographs. Even though it is mainly a picture book a real narrative is being told here something that captivates the reader. This book certainly tells a very different story about science today. It is of course documenting science in a unique biotope of research and collaboration creating a special place between Switzerland and France. But what it shows is the fascination and dedication of the individuals working in this field and manages to transport this.

If this is not quite yet enough. Google has collaborated with cern and it features on Street View. Try this link to go on a virtual walk around CERN and the LHC.

Inside Cern book cover
Image taken from amazon.com / Book cover. More details also available on the book website at insidecern.com.

Pol, A., 2011. Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research. Lars Muller Publishers, Zürich.

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Taking pictures is the main activity for tourists. They are constantly snapping away, trying to capture the extend of their explorations, banning experience onto the sensor. A certain desire drives them, the eager to document what has happened in order to proof that it did.

It is like almost taking a piece of it home. This idea of possession or conquering is still part of the human nature as hunter and collector and going on holiday is only successful once one can see the perfect view on the tiny little LCD screen of the camera over and over again. Like a box ticked.

Vionnet Moscow
Image taken from mymodernmet / St. Basil’s basilica on the Red Square in Moscow

The Swiss artist Corinne Vionnet has built here work ‘Photo Opportunity‘ around this topics. From online sharing sites she sources her material of hundreds of similar snapshots of landmarks, in German ‘Sehenswuerdigkeit’ (literally translated ‘worthy to see’), and overlays them as transparent images. The results are slightly blurred, but recognisable images of the landmarks of the top snap shot locations around the world.

Regarding the sourcing of images Vionett explains “This work is intrinsically linked to the people who took these pictures. The collaboration is obvious, but it is without their knowledge. These pictures are on the Internet, to be seen by any eventual visitors. I am just one of those visitors. It is the sheer quantity of these almost identical pictures that gave me the idea of superimposing them. I do not think I would have had the idea if I had made all these pictures of the same places myself. Anyway, the work would loose its meaning.”

Vionnet London Parliament
Image taken from photolucida / THe Parliament in London

The images evoke a sense of a collective memory. They quite literally illustrate this idea of hundreds of people sharing he same experience. In this case it is having see the same thing, or more precise having taking almost the ame picture. What they have seen is not quite clear.

Interesting is that each image shows the same subject, largely they are visually the same images. However the collective memory is defined by Maurice Halbwach as: “While the collective memory endures and draws strength from its base in a coherent body of people, it is individuals as group members who remember” (Maurice Halbwachs, Collective Memory, p.48) His conception of collective memory as a very confined and group specific construction is very clear and he was one of the first to promote this idea of connected and very local collective memories.

Vionnet Beijing Forbidden City
Image taken from photolucida / The Forbidden City in Beijing China. Here Vionnet has focus on the Mao portrait to adjust the different images overlaid.

A similar approach is taken by the German artist xxxx. He also uses online photo sharing platforms such as flickr to manipulate images and provoke memories of personal experiences.
He explains: “The installation consists of two projections, the perception and the memory layer. Both shell be explained in what follows.
The perception layer represents the sensory memory before any priorities have been chosen. It receives the newest images from flickr (flickr.com) which get distorted, mixed and blended to persuade some sort of sensory noise.”

Image taken from Matthias Dörfelt / Screenshot of my installation “Selective Memory Theatre” which is my bachelor thesis at art school.

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TimeLapse has been sort of a niche thing with few geeks loving it and producing seductive clips. However these days seem now over and TimeLapse is becoming widely used and much more sophisticated. Different techniques and ways and subjects have been explored and developed, but now technology is moving in. The big shot cameras are getting more widely used and the built in features bring TimeLapse up to speed. However not only in the high end market but across the boards equipment, including post processing is easier accessible and simpler to handle wich makes the difference.

Now also the gadget are becoming more widely used and here we have two examples showing of the potential of motion controle equipment. The shots are very fascinating and truly take this genre to a next level.

The two videos are using different brands of motion controle equipment. The first one is testing a beta Stage Zero Motorized Timelapse Dolly developed by dynamicperception. and the second one is using a drive cam developed by dotgear. However both are still in development, but should be available for pre order.

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Pictures are mostly taken as a sort of memory aid, and as the action describes it ‘taken’ suggests it menas to pocket something, owning it and bringing it home. We have learned to relate to images and use them efficiently as triggers for memories, to tell stories and evoke associations. Further more they have grown in to the culture in a sense that photographs reveil our identity and tell as much about us as they do tell about the culture we belong to. They are a lot more than a colourful paper or a bunch of pixels. Beside the identity and cultural value especially fascinating are the aspects of time and space. Clearly and with this tool aspects of subjective and/or social time can be comfortably visualised. in an earlier post on time I sort of struggled to relate the multitude of times to the work in spatial analysis, simply because there is no tradition of incorporating anything other than Newtons one dimensional, directed arrow. The multitude of times however seems perfectly well fited for the subject of Photographs.
Sandra Abegglen over at everydayClick and a researcher at Goldsmith working with photographs states: “In brief, family portraits (and also other photographs) are only partly about the visual, because they contain a lot more information. They are (time) documents. They show how it was, how it is and how it can be in the future. As Barthes (1984:96) states, ‘…the photograph tells me the death in the future’.”
How time distorts as we look at photographs from our childhood is a familiar experience even though few will have actively reflected on it. We can see ourselves at multiple different Birthdays of ourselves and flip through the years see oneself grow up and from the past right to the resent and straight trough to the further and the next birthday the photographs narrate it perfectly.
Spatially a similar mental process is involved. The image shows only a fraction of the real context of the scene. And still we can construct the spatial dimension, lift the elements up from the flat paper and extend the scenery. Old places become familiar again, the scene comes to live. Interestingly the recognition of places works well as a visualisation for the passage of time and in this sense the spatial dimension of photographs is very closely tied to the temporal dimension. Almost as if the time we extract from the photograph helps to build up the spatial dimension.
The spatiality of the final photograph is embedded in the spatial activity of actually taking the image. We stand back, align the perspective and compose the shapes and characters in the frame, what for the perfect lighting to enter the scene and click, click, click.

Video found via Timo Arnall’s Research Blog

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It is online since last week, the Geotaggers’ World Atlas derived from geo taged photographs on flickr and picasa. Eric Fischer has put together a series of 100 World cities mapped out by the click of cameras of locals and tourists. By acessing the API’s of both flickr and picasa Fischer was able to process thousands of images per location.
Fischer doesn’t only plot the location, but takes traces movement by individual photographer including sort of classifying the mode of transport by speed derived from the time stamps. The differen colours read as: black is less than 7 mph (11 km/h), red is less than 19 mph (30 km/h), blue is less than 43 mph (69 km/h) – car, and green is faster.
This is an amazing collection rendered on top of an OSM background layer. Check out the rest of the cities in the flickr set.

The Geotaggers' World Atlas #12: Vancouver
Image by Eric Fischer / The Vancouver Duck, derived from geotaged flickr and picasa photographs. The colouring corresponds to speed of traveling between the different pictures.

Thanks for the link to Matt from Wiser is the Path.

2010-06-09 UPDATE

Eric has processed the data further and created a second set of maps of the world cities using the same sources. This time the focus is on who takes the picture and what is this persons relationship to the place. He works with thee categories, local, tourist and not to determine. This highlights the areas of which only locals take snaps in read and areas were predominantly locals, blue, take pictures. Very obvious there are places tourists just don’t go to on a short visit to an unknown place, for a number of reasons. This can be lack of knowledge, not knowing the directions or not interested. On the other hand high profile places might not be very interesting for locals. In a lot of the maps large areas are actually covered in blue where locals document their city. New set can be found on flickr.

Locals and Tourists #11 (GTWA #12): Vancouver
Image by Eric Fischer / The Vancouver Duck, derived from geotaged flickr and picasa photographs. Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more).
Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).
Yellow points are pictures where it can’t be determined whether or not the photographer was a tourist (because they haven’t taken pictures anywhere for over a month). They are probably tourists but might just not post many pictures at all.

Thanks for the link to Ralph Bartel

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A timeLapse of time lapses you could call this one. I think it simply makes of a great collection of different little scenes that were recycled in this collage. It is beautiful and the short scenes, showing only a glimpse of what might has happened or might happen still, is more of a collection of extended photographs where the shutter wouldn’t close and like with a phone conversation as one party doesn’t hang up the phone properly and the other can hear the following conversation, this strip of scenes take us through the variety of landscapes and cities, stages and skies on a trip to catch glimpses of time and space.

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A short and rather hastily put together timeLapse of the snowfall over the last night here in London. It all happened very quickly, with the darkness came the snow down from the sky and started covering the landscape.
It is shot with an iPhone 3GS and put together in quicktime. Music ‘A Touch Of GenIus’ by Daniel McKenzie at Mp3unsigned.

Snowed In Over Night from urbanTick on Vimeo.

The following night was clear and very cold. London was quiet all day and especially in the evening. I went out with the GigaPan pack and my G10 to take a couple of panorama shots with the snow. It was freezing and that is probably why I didn’t pay enough attention on what I was doing and ended up with hiccups in my shots. Also the GigaPan didn’t really cope very well with the freezing temperature and gave up after two and a half panos. I have also a few new shots on my flickr account HERE. My pano at GigaPan can be accessed HERE.

Image by urbanTick

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I am testing some new gear, a GigaPan set to use for automated, very detailed panorama shots. I have done a few test over Christmas and it works really well and delivers impressive results. Even though the apparatus looks complicated the setup is straight forward. However the thing drains it batteries very quickly and because it is so cold at the moment I can only about do ten panoramas with one load of AA batteries.
It is a lot of fun and the detail of the images are great, the downside really is that one image is just too big and all the raw data eats up so much space on the hard drive.

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Image by urbanTick

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I haven’t consciously seen this before and it blew me away, a timeLapse in black and white. How beautiful is this! I love it and this is already reason enough to post it. However it gets even better and with the sunrise the colour fade in and the scene develops a different character.

Timelapse from Andre Merilo on Vimeo.

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Nice timeLapse merging the changes of light.

Timelapse test 9 – Dusk to night transition from Andrei Zdetovetchi on Vimeo.

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