The Touch of Time: Temporal Sequence Photography as Works and Theory
Doctoral dissertation, 2005 – Abstract:
The present study deals with photography and the methods it can be evaluated in an art-focused way. The background is the drastic theoretical change of the past decades in the cultural field, which has greatly influenced the discussion on visual art. The transformed cultural layers are interpreted from the viewpoint of the image maker, emphasis being on the 1990s. In the empiric section of the study, the time-bound nature of the photographic observation and the exact moment of photographing are shown by means of including organized structures in the photography.
The material consists of imagenary produced by means of a special photographing method developed for the purpose of the present study. The photographs of this art-focused collection were taken with a camera to which a focal plane sliding shutter was integrated, the temporal sequence photographs presented in this study are the result of this photographing process. Evaluation of the time-related features of this imagenary, in the context of visual culture, forms the theoretical framework for the study.
The collection of these photographs were presented earlier in three thematic exhibitions by the photographer, ‘Ajan arvoitus‘ (The Enigma of Time) 1993, ‘Ajan kosketus‘ (The Touch of Time) 1996, and ‘Ajan kudos‘ (The Weave of Time) 1999. The connecting link between these exhibitions was the unpredictability of photography. This covers all those innumerable alternatives which open up after the preliminary preparations but are invisible and unforeseeable until the moment the photo is taken. The question therefor is how does unpredictability influence the process which leads to a photograph, and would it be possible, by means of unpredictability, to create images which are not based merely on the combination of presumed expectations.
The empiric section of the study is focused on intentional unpredictability which is then enlarged to form an evaluation of the photographing method in the context of photographic art. The methodical approach to art-focused observations is offered by the unpredictable and unrepeatable features of the temporal sequence photography.
The most important aspects are the relation of the photographer to the image, the relation of the image to the viewer as well as the viewer’s relation to the final result of the process. Observation of the preconceived ideas influencing the viewing experience offered then an opportunity to interpret the imagenary in the contemporary theoretical framework.
In discussion on the theoretical premises for the photographic art, one of the central questions has been the discrepancy between new creativity and the existing principles. The central question of the present study is therefor whether photographic art should present and thus repeat the existing conceptions or should it offer new fresh perspectives. The empiric result was production of alternatives which emerge out of the photographing process itself creating thus an entirely new collection of images. The theoretical observations deal with the comparison of the present collection of photographic works to the conceptions related to the art theories. The result is expressing the standpoint of the photographer to the drastic change in the photographic art. The issues born out of the research process are closely linked with the general discussion on visual arts.
Collection of photographs created by means of a focal plane sliding shutter, presented earlier in three different photo exhibitions.
Photographic art, temporal sequence photography, art-focused study, unpredictability, colour photo, presentation of movement, time.