Exercise 1: Movement in photography

This first exercise asks to look carefully at four photographic images all showing movement through time in different ways, and to note down how each conveys it.

Part 1 – Looking at the photographs
Risultati immagini per Passing Place Derek Trillo

Fig. 1. Derek Trillo, Two People Passing on Stairs in Front of a Coloured Light Wall, Manchester, 2006

At: http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-two-people-passing-on-stairs-in-front-of-a-coloured-light-wall-29546322 (Accessed 5/05/2017)

The feeling of movement is given by the blurred images of the two people on the stairs indicating their displacement. I think this was obtained with a longer shutter speed while taking the photograph. The neon colours of the background create a dramatic contrast with the figures and the effect is striking, slick and airy, almost immaterial.

This photograph makes me think of futurist Duchamp’s painting Nude descending a staircase (1912).

(Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT) (Credit: Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT)

Fig. 2 Harold Edgerton, Bullet and Apple, ca. 1964

At: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140722-the-man-who-froze-the-world (Accessed 8/05/2017)

This image looks astonishing from all points of view: the fractionally small shutter speed that must have been used for fixing such a brief instant, almost not measurable, but also the choice of elements, the sharp lines and colours, the contrast between the softness of the apple pulp exploding and the polished hardness of the metal bullet.

I have no idea of how such a result has been obtained technically, without recourse to digital magic.

(Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT) (Credit: Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT)

Fig. 3 Harold Edgerton, Multiflash tennis serve, 1949

At: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/155747 (Accessed 8/05/2016)

Perhaps this image was obtained by taking several photographs in sequence and combining the expositions in a single image. Apart from being mesmerizing,  images like that can be very useful in sport use, showing the exact movement of the player.

Bichonnade Leaping by Jaques-Henri Lartigue

Fig. 4 Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Cousin Bichonnade in Flight

At: http://www.bbc.co.uk/photography/genius/gallery/lartigue.shtml (Accessed 8/05/2017)

This joyful photograph is gently humorous, full of grace, life and elegance. The young lady is frozen in time in this lovely leap taken in a sunny day as if she should never touch land again, forever suspended in the air.

Part 2 – Taking some photographs of movement

The following photos have been taken with my IPhone. For the time being my wish is simply to understand what happens when in a photo there are moving things or people.


Fig. 5

The grindstone is rotating very quickly and the water jet bounces back when it touches it


Fig. 6

The galloping horses leave heavy blurred streaks, the background is slightly out of focus. The circling movement makes an arc.


Fig. 7

I took a photograph of people running towards me from the opposite side of the belt. There is a contrast between the fixed background and the people.


Fig. 8

Lights and cars at night in Paris almost melt away.

For the following three photographs I used a new application on my IPhone, called Slow Shutter Cam, that I am learning to use. In Fig. 9 I was able to capture the movement of the cars while keeping the background stable. Fig. 10 and 11 look very unnatural, and tend to create abstract patterns with the lights, especially Fig. 11 that accentuates this effect. The next step would be to abstract shapes even more, creating a sort of digital painting that has nothing to do with the real scene.


Fig. 9


Fig. 10


Fig. 11



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