PLEASE NOTE: This is the first draft -- we will accept comments, suggestions, additions, support or criticisms for the next couple of weeks and then will issue the final Manifesto in due time. If you would like to also be one of the sponsors, let us know. This initial draft was written by Rick Doble, but he expects that when completed it will be a work in which many have contributed.
TIME-FLOW PHOTOGRAPHY DEFINITION: We define 'Time-Flow Photography' as one that deals primarily with slow shutter speeds and movement that is visibly recorded in a photographic image. The movement can be camera movement, subject movement or a combination of the two.
- The word photograph comes from two Greek words: Photo = light and Graph = drawing or painting.
- Photography is the art of light on light sensitive material -- no matter what form that art takes.
- Therefore a photography of light recorded in movement is a valid form for the photographic arts.
- We reject the notion that valid photography must, for the most part, be sharp and realistic. For various reasons in the past (see below) sharp realistic photography has been most useful and therefore considered the standard for the photographic arts. But now with the new capabilities of digital, this standard is outdated.
- Deliberate artistic blurred images or images that show motion or streaks of light or a duration of motion are just as valid a photographic statement as traditional photography.
- The idea of recording motion in photography was suggested over 100 years ago by Anton Bragaglia, a photographer associated with the Italian Futurist movement. The idea of light in itself being the subject was suggested 50 years ago by Wynn Bullock who spent six years, from 1959 to 1965 creating what he called "Color Light Abstractions" on 35mm Kodachrome slides.
Anton Bragaglia (his photo above) wrote his own Manifesto in 1911, Futurist Photodynamism (Fotodinamismo futurista) in which he described many of the same ideas that are fundamental to Time-Flow Photography but were difficult to implement with the film and cameras of the time. He wanted to understand unbroken movement with precision -- and he wanted to put together what he called an "algebra of movement."
"Light to me is perhaps the most profound truth in the universe. My thinking has been deeply affected by the belief everything is some form of radiant energy.""Light used in its own right...gives to photography the wonderful plasticity that paint gives to painting without loss of the unmatched reality of straight photography."Wynn Bullock (1905 - 1975) writing about his "Color Light Abstractions"
Experimental digital photography has the potential to create abstract expressionist pictures with the depth and quality of traditional painters but with light as the medium -- light which has characteristics all its own.
Rick Doble, 2010
- In the past the effects possible with slow shutter speeds were virtually ignored due to the expense and uncertainty of the results and the desire to create only sharp imagery for documentation. While time-flow effects were possible with film, the result were haphazard, time consuming and expensive so for all practical purposes slow shutter speed effects were not used or explored.
- Now however, digital photography allows a range of expression and an ability to experiment that was not possible with film because of the immediate feedback of the digital image and the low cost. Rick Doble wrote an essay about this over 15 years ago.
- In particular, candid digital photography is now possible with 'Time-Flow' effects -- which allows an immediacy and spontaneity that was first imagined by the Italian Futurists over 100 years ago.
- This means that difficult photographic imagery can now be crafted using a variety of slow shutter speeds and types of movement.
- Almost from the moment photography was born, it has evolved and changed. But the standards of the past have often mistakenly been applied to the newer technology. Now with digital photography, the new possible imagery with Time-Flow Photography is being criticized by outdated notions that prohibit most kinds of blur or visible motion in a photograph.
- From the very beginning photography has been changing. The first photograph by Niepce around 1827 required an eight hour exposure. About fifty years later Muybridge was taking photographs at 1/2000 of a second. Each technological advance in photography (from large tripod view cameras and collodion wet plates to handheld SLRs that took roll film, from black and white to color) led to new imagery but not without controversy. When small 35mm cameras became available their photographs were considered vastly inferior to the earlier large format cameras, for example.
- Like any new art form it will take some time to determine what effects are possible and which photographs exhibit these effects with the best possible artistic skill
- We reject the notion that these images are purely accidental as some critics have asserted.
- At its most complex, this type of imagery requires more skill than traditional photography -- and does not happen by accident. The exact techniques have been described in detail by Rick Doble in his book, Experimental Digital Photography.
- Like any new experimental art form there will be trial and error at the beginning which in time will evolve into specific techniques over which the photographer will have full control.
- As Einstein pointed out, we do not live in a world that is purely space, we live in a space-time world. Time-Flow Photography has the ability to record time as well as space and to make visual our space-time existence.
- A photographic 'exposure' is created by the combination of light through the lens for a specific period of time (the shutter speed).
- Therefore photography is uniquely capable of recording a space-time image because a photographic image is the combination of space (through the lens) and time (via the shutter speed) -- so each photo is a space-time picture.
- The dream and aim of recording the 'fourth dimension', that of time, is now possible with digital photography.
- A depiction of the fourth dimension has been a central theme of modern and contemporary art.
- This is an exciting time for people who are willing to work with a new way of thinking and new imagery.
WHY A MANIFESTO?
- Writing a Manifesto in which one defines the goals of a new art is in keeping with a long held tradition in art such as the Cubist Manifesto (Du "Cubism") of 1912 or the Symbolist Manifesto (Le Symbolisme) of 1886 or the Surrealist Manifestos of 1924 & 1929 or the Dogma 95 Manifesto by avant-garde Danish filmmakers in 1995. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifesto
NOTE: While we have named our kind of photography of slow shutter speeds with continuous motion, Time-Flow Photography, there may be a better name. It has been called space-time photography and also painting with light -- but neither of these, we feel, is as clear as the term Time-Flow Photography.
Accident Vs. Chance:
On the upper deck, looking over the railing, there was a young man with a straw hat...A round straw hat, the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right, the white drawbridge with its railing made of circular chains…I saw shapes related to each other. I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had about life."
Chance And Modern Art:
"The marvellous mixture of emotion and geometry, together in a single instant."
NOTE: "Visualization is a central topic in Ansel Adams' writings about photography, where he defines it as 'the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure.'" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Previsualization)Minor White refined the idea a bit, calling the visualization before taking a picture, previsualization but crediting Ansel Adams with the basic idea.