The Hypnotic, Sinister Beauty of Birds Caught in Time

Here at Mylio, we’ve been known to natter on about the magic of photography, and its simultaneous ability to stop, leap, stretch, and finely slice time. The following projects add motion to the mix (and put a bird on it for good measure). The (beautiful? Dreamlike? Disorienting? Slightly unnerving?) still images above and below are from Spanish photographer Xavi Bou’s project Ornitographies, birds captured in motion. Bou’s work is another example of what wonders a mashup of old and new technologies can bring – in his case, chronophotography meets Adobe CC. Chronophotography is a Victorian-era photo technique for the scientific study of motion; it was the predecessor of cinematography – moving pictures – and most famously used by photo founding father Eadweard Muybridge: The technique involved an array of cameras, tripped off in sequence – something that would be revisited a century later by folks like the Wachowski brothers in the Matrix, and dubbed ‘bullet time’ (GoPros have made some pretty sweet homemade examples possible now, too). Bou shoots stills, then stitches them together for a single image. The result isn’t so much a time lapse as what another artist in this space, RISD Professor Dennis Hlynsky, calls extended moment photography. Ornitographies is a balance… Continue reading The Hypnotic, Sinister Beauty of Birds Caught in Time

A Desperate Swipe at Immortality: Marc Tasman’s 10-Year Polaroid Self-Portrait Project

What is it that strikes us first about Marc Tasman’s decade-long endurance art project, where he took at least one Polaroid self portrait every day for 3,654 days? (It was important to pick a stopping point in advance, Tasman noted in an interview. Because if he didn’t “it’s not really art. It’s a compulsion, or an obsession.”) Is it the physical realities of such an analog project? We may squeeze off a thousand digital images on vacation, but what if each spit out a paper artifact?  According to Tasman, his photos, if laid side by side, would span over a quarter mile, or nearly 4 football fields. Their installation at the 2010 Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art was 40 feet wide by 16 feet high. (Leading, maybe, to unintended effect: according to one reviewer, “some visual nuance was lost as we strained to see the oldest images at the top, much like we struggle to remember what’s past.”) Is it the “eerily prescient” use of an instant, disposable medium like Polaroid before the selfie era, before YouTube or Instagram? Is it the passage of time marked by these images? Voyeurism? Something else? “When I learned that Tasman’s maternal great-grandparents were killed during World War II and… Continue reading A Desperate Swipe at Immortality: Marc Tasman’s 10-Year Polaroid Self-Portrait Project

This is the Power of Time: Father and Son Across Three Decades

In July, 2015, a young Beijing director named Tian Li posted the following series of portraits to the Chinese social network WeChat. The first showed Li held in his father Jun’s arms on his birthday. Tian Jun would go on to photograph himself with his son on his birthday for the next three decades — almost always against the same backdrop in front of the family home in Guizhou Province, almost always shirtless due to the summertime heat. Within weeks, the images had gone viral worldwide. In an interview with CNN shortly after gaining international attention, Tian Li suggested the story of father-son bonding, and a boy coming of age, have universal appeal. Like Marc Tasman, he sees the series more as performance art than simple photography. Time itself is a form of art. This is the power of time. — Tian Li This last image represents the only break in the chain; Tian Li’s son Timothy was born in the U.S in 2014, and the pair couldn’t make it back to Guizhou for the annual father-son photo until the next year. Next up: From Friendly Desperation: Nicholas Nixon, the Brown Sisters, and a Four-Decade Appointment   Also in the series Magic vs. the… Continue reading This is the Power of Time: Father and Son Across Three Decades