The changing face of photography

May 20, 2009 | Tech News

Red side

It’s an exciting time to be a photographer. The affordability of shooting in HD and editing on a home computer is now a reality. What started off as experiments by artists and videographers are now starting to permeate the mainstream, as the print medium and the way people consume content continues to evolve.

In 2007 iconic artist and theater director Robert Wilson created a series of video portraits of celebrities, ordinary people and animals called “VOOM Portraits.” A hybrid of still photography and motion pictures, actors such as Brad Pitt (as a crazy person on the streets in the rain), Isabelle Huppert (as Greta Garbo), Steve Buscemi (as a mad butcher chewing gum on a variety show), Robert Downey Jr. (as a dreaming corpse in a Rembrandt painting), and Winona Ryder (as Winnie, the main female character in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, buried up to her neck in sand) were asked to “think of nothing” and move slowly and steadily to collaborate in Wilson’s vision of who they might be.


Picture 57


The HD quality and use of video in what looked like a traditional still brought about a new aesthetic that more recently was utilized by Esquire Magazine with their Megan Fox video cover. Esquire are in my mind very forward thinking in terms of embracing technology in publishing. They were the first magazine to publish an e-ink cover in a limited 100,000 run last year. More recently, working with photographer-director Greg Williams, they were the first to use a RedONE video camera to record at four times the resolution of HD, to capture a short but highly watchable vignette of Ms. Fox getting up in the morning.

“It allowed her to act,” Williams says. “She could run scenes without being reminded by the sound of a shutter every four seconds that I was taking a picture. As in still photography, a lot of it is capturing unexpected moments. This takes that one step further.” He then went back and pulled out the best images, which you can see in Esquire’s June issue.”

Picture 56


Slo-Mo is another by product of the digital imaging revolution with the BBC and Discovery running their own TV series such as Time Warp looking at everything from Metallica in the recording studio to giant explosions up close and personal.


HD: Super Slo-mo Surfer! BBC Two


With the growing popularity of devices like the Kindle and the rumored Apple competitor I wouldn’t be very surprised if a media form that is shorter than a video but more dynamic than a photograph begins to take hold as a staple of digital content….something like the magic newspaper you may have seen in the Harry Potter movies but with less waving of wands. It’s going to be a while before I think my piggy bank will extend to a RedOne, but I am hoping to at least get in on the action with the Canon 5D MarkII, which is one of only a handful of pro-amateur cameras that allows you to capture HD video. Time to give Megan a call!

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