Jason Schulman captures entire movies in a single photograph. Aiming his camera at a high res computer screen he records the roughly ninety minute movie in a single still shot. The project is called Photographs of Films and he has recorded over twenty films.
The still photos that result compress each movie into a single abstracted image with the scenes from the film recorded in layers. The photographs capture something the human eye can’t ordinarily see, the totality of a movie seen into a single moment, a single frame. In an average 90 minute film there are roughly 130,000 individual frames – still photographs themselves – so Schulman’s photographs are a record of tens of thousands of other photographs.
There are surprising traces of individual scenes. See how those light tones in Schulman’s Citizen Kane (1941) are a trace of the windows in this scene from the movie.
The idea is similar to Hiroshi Sugimoto‘s interiors of ornate cinemas, lit only by the dark flickering image of the movie on the screen. His photographs show the cinema screen over-exposed to a white glow, while Schulman’s retain surprising traces of individual scenes.
“You can learn something about the director’s style from this kind of kooky translation: you can learn that Hitchcock deals with people, for example, Kubrick deals with composition. So it’s odd that in one exposure all of these things, although very subjective, kind of come through.”
Now look closely at these colour images, do you recognize the movies? The top one is Hitchcock’s Rear Window which shows just how much of that film focusses on James Stewart in his wheelchair. The bottom image is Kubrick’s The Shining and it demonstrates the great director’s taste for symmetrical compositions.