single-pixel scanner photos

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Artist-photographer Adam Magyar in front of just a small piece of his outdoor installation in Birmingham UK.

Berlin-based photographer Adam Magyar sees things differently that most humans, and that’s one reason his art is so completely unique and captivating.
He makes his “photographs” using a variety of scanner cameras — some he makes himself, others are high-tech tools typically used for quality control screening of high-speed manufacturing, or for photo finishes in races.
I wrote about him and his work last year, shortly after I discovered it (http://bit.ly/scanner-photos), but I was completely blown away by a huge outdoor presentation of just one long continuous image of 160 walking people that was commissioned with the help of Rhubarb-Rhubarb in Birmingham England this summer. It’s so much fun to look at the details in this image, and it makes your mind do backflips trying to unravel what it is that you are actually seeing.
Here’s the way the Walking As One exhibition project website explains it:
How it works
This is the type of image which Adam makes – the scanner captures absolutely the present time. To its left the people are in the future and to the right they are in the past… Of course the people on the right are a few minutes older than the people on the left…

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Adam uses the same technologies as the finish line cameras at the Olympic Games, which take thousands of images a second and records through a 1 pixel wide slit. The time and space slices are then placed next to one another to generate an image without perspective. This method is capable of recording movement only, with static objects and buildings appearing as stripes and lines.
So, no matter which direction the people were “really” walking (left to right, or right to left, in front of the camera), in the stitched-together image they are all walking in exactly the same direction with everyone else.
Three cheers for the Rhubarb-Rhubarb team for organizing this great production (and a similar one in London), and for making this crazy art available to the public.
For more info about Adam Magyar, check out his website: www.magyaradam.com

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