Beyond One Point Perspective – Putting Space and Time Into Images

I’ve been interested in figuring out how to give my images a sense of space, a feeling that you could step into them, and how I can play with time. I feel as though I’ve been making progress – using different kinds of lenses to get different effects and playing around with long exposures to give effects that can’t been seen.

Somewhat naively I thought that this was my unique struggle and so in digging into David Hockney’s work I was interested to read that he was wrestling with the same issues – 30 or 40 years ago. Hockney’s solution was the creation of photocollages. Perhaps the most successful of these was Pearblossom Highway, the image at the top of the page. When I had originally seen this and others like it I had thought that these were quite simple, knocked out in a couple of minutes. I didn’t realize the thought and effort that went into the making of it. Apparently the original shoot was done over the course of 8 days and then the assembly of the collage took another 2 weeks.

What makes this image interesting for me is that it plays with the notion of one point perspective that you would normally have in a photograph. This is done by changing position for each of the major elements in the photograph, for instance getting up on a ladder to shoot the stop sign. It gives an interesting effect. In other collages photographs of his friends and family taken during the course of an evening or afternoon capture their personality and the action.

I’m not intending to begin photocollages, just yet, but certainly food for thought.

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2 thoughts on “Beyond One Point Perspective – Putting Space and Time Into Images

  1. These collages remind me of that time when I started doing panoramas without the proper tools and using Photoshop to merge them. The result was almost something similar but blended. And I remember I’ve used it to take pictures from close distance of somehow large objects because back then I didn’t have fisheye lens (or any other wide lens). The result of such a collage wasn’t always a pleasant one.
    I have, personally, different idea about the depiction of time and space into photographs, but as for collages like these, I’m not sure how it can be a visual aid. It is a nice form of art after all. I think the idea of time can be depicted by a long exposure, or by a series of shots of the same scene in different times (classical example: the tree and the four seasons). As for the space, there are many tricks regarding the lights and shadows, angles, or the dimensional play in its many forms.

  2. Interesting that you made panoramas that had a similar effect. I’d tried panoramas like this too back in the day, mine were just prints pasted on board, I liked them but never felt they were super successful.

    I like looking at how others solve the problem of putting space and time into pictures, if only to give me a different perspective, if you pardon the pun. I’ve been playing with using different lenses, angle of view, times of day etc. to give the sense of volume and depth and will keep pushing until I’ve got a tool bag of approaches that I can turn to depending on the situation.

    Hockney’s photocollages are interesting to me because they represent an extreme. As Brian Eno would say, ‘Go to an extreme and then retreat to a usable position’. I’m working towards that usable position is.

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