p { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }32 Five Second Moving Portraits

Made over three hours on a Saturday afternoon, these moving portraits repeat the method of my last gallery interaction (22nd January, below). Visitors were asked if they’d like to design a five second moving portrait which I then shot on one of the Pavilion education department’s compact cameras. Five second sections were cut from the original footage and simply joined up in the order in which they were made.

Feeling emboldened by my first go at this, and a bit more familiar with the video setting of the little digital camera, I played it a bit more fast and loose this time. So much so that the first two portraits are the wrong way around. Sorry, I’ve been a stills photographer for thirty years and obviously have some bad habits. The gentleman in the first clip, John, is a teacher of film and said that he didn’t mind he liked it that way, so I felt better and then did it again.

I was less strict with duration this time, making longer clips from which to cut from, an intervention that I had tried hard to exclude before. Also, we (Penny Hobson, artist and De La Warr volunteer, and myself) were in a rush in a very busy gallery, dealing with people who weren’t so willing to write a plan on a clipboard but were very keen to get on with it. There was a lot more improvisation from the sitters this time, and what a cast! Thanks to all for being such a pleasure to work with.

The modern digital snapshot camera makes data files that are the 8mm amateur cine films of our day. The big difference is that one isn’t forced to discriminate with the digital camera. The tiny memory card is so vast compared to the quick, expensive and single use rolls of film in use from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Nowadays, having method and intention behind what you put on that memory card is more essential than ever in order to make something worth saving. It might be this aspect of Moving Portraits, more than any other, that makes people respond so well to this exhibition.

Posted by Ryan Coleman on Sunday 20 February 2011