Oh the humanity


Pelle Cass, Lawn, Boston Public Garden I


Manuel Vazquez, Traces


Ulf Lundin, Still Films #12, 2006-08

The similarity between these photographs is striking. Three photographs taken by three photographers from three countries. Not only is the subject matter similar – people moving briskly in a public environment, but they also broadly share the same composition, that ribbon of humanity across the centre. And these intriguing images also share the same technique.

Have you noticed something strange about them? The gathering of people seems contrived, a little unlikely, but it’s hard to say why. They’re not directed, as some of my students thought, but ordinary photos of the real world. What makes them unusual is what happens afterward in Photoshop.

The first image is by Pelle Cass, a Boston photographer who calls the technique Still Time-Lapse. I take hundreds of pictures, then using Photoshop, I leave in selected figures. I never change their location or anything else, so these are actually documentary records. But I do choose what stays in, just the way your brain does in real life!

In other words, he takes hundreds of photographs from the same position, stacks them in Photoshop, then erases what he doesn’t want. For a better explanation, see Cass in a short video on this post on Petapixel.

On his blog, Cass links to other photographers working in a similar way, Manuel Vasquez in England and Ulf Lundin in Sweden. Check them out for their alternative visions using the same technique.


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