Blog | Architecture of Seeing

A blog about architecture photography, art,  and conceptual issues that I hope will help photographers reach beyond their technical skill set to become better artists, writers, and thinkers.

Photography and Sequencing

© Lane Barden 2017 (from the Linear City project)

© Lane Barden 2017 (from the Linear City project)

I am interested in the way photography is inextricable from time and the way we remember and reconstruct events. Time is embedded in each image like an innate property or a signature, impersonating our memory while offering itself as a substitute. The experience of photographing and of looking at photographs is always an exploration of time. While once we looked at proof sheets for hours absorbing their sequences and fixation on time, now we see sequences of images as they begin to appear on a computer display while importing them after a shoot, or browsing them in a cataloguing program – this perusing and examining sequences on proof sheets and the computer display is a photographic activity of its own.

I found, while working on the Linear City project that photographic sequences could become a conceptual model for the way landscape could be seen, remembered, and understood. I felt that conventional aerial photography, made randomly without a framework, was disorienting and too far removed from the landscape.

So I planned my flights carefully, asking the pilot to keep the helicopter at the same low altitude and to hover and turn to a ninety degree angle so I could shoot on axis with the lines in the landscape.  With the horizon line kept constant and close to the top of the image, I could shoot each photograph with approximately the same camera angle. The result was a typological sequencing that gave structure to the photographs, allowing each image to act as a word acts in a sentence, and building a more coherent articulation of the subject.

Of course, no photographer can explore concepts of sequencing without acknowledging the ground breaking work of Edweard Muybridge and his motion studies. This remarkable, comprehensive body of work was made between 1872 and 1887 first at Stanford, then at University of Pennsylvania. These sequences were the ground work for the invention and development of motion pictures.

From Edweard Muybridge's motion studies.

From Edweard Muybridge's motion studies.