Moments in Time: How A picture can change the way we look at time

A photograph is a physical representation of a specific moment in time. Day to Night is a photography technique developed by Stephen Wilkes that involves integrating multiple moments into a single photograph. Going right to left, left to right, or sometimes bottom to top, his images show the passing of time from day to night. It is, as Wilkes says, “a new way of seeing” time.

We sometimes do this in our own minds, too. We look at something – objects, buildings, perhaps even people – and imagine what it used to look like in the past or what it will look like in the future. Even as our eyes show us the present, our minds integrate what we see with what we imagine.

Like any picture, these mental images are difficult to accurately describe in words. That’s why having a physical image can be so powerful. It can help us share what are otherwise figments of our imagination.

The ability to translate our imagination into physical form is also important in talking about ideas like emergence. Emergent processes involve interactions that occur at scales of time as well as size that are outside of ordinary human perception, yet understanding emergence requires the ability to imagine processes that happen at these scales. Finding ways to create and share physical representations of these multi-scale processes enhances our ability to collaboratively perceive and conceive them.

Photography can be described as the recording of a single moment frozen within a fraction of time. Each moment or photograph represents a tangible piece of our memories as time passes. But what if you could capture more than one moment in a photograph? What if a photograph could actually collapse time, compressing the best moments of the day and the night seamlessly into one single image? …

Using time as a guide, I seamlessly blend those best moments into one single photograph, visualizing our conscious journey with time …

As technology evolves along with photography, photographs will not only communicate a deeper meaning of time and memory, but they will compose a new narrative of untold stories, creating a timeless window into our world.

The passing of time, caught in a single photo | TED: Stephen Wilkes








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