Mind-Boggling In-Camera Panoramic Distortions of Time

Normally, we record a moment in time with a photograph or a video, revealing specific spaces in time, but these abstract photographs by multifaceted artist Jay Mark Johnson takes a different approach. Using a slit camera, the photographer manages to capture both motion and time into each of his warped panoramic shots. Somehow, the technology is also able to separate the subject(s) from the background. Stationary architecture and immobile objects are transformed into streaks of color as moving subjects are distorted.

To get this effect, without the additional use of Photoshop or other sources outside of his $85,000 slit camera, Johnson kept his focus fixed in one position. Normally, for panoramic photos, a photographer would have to take several shots that pan across an area because the camera captures bits in vertical rectangular slivers and internally composites them into one wide image. By remaining still, the camera is forced to continually photograph the same area of space over a different course of time. So, essentially, as you browse the width of Johnson's images (left to right), you're viewing the passage of time, instead of space.

Johnson's unique series, known simply as SPACETIME, alludes to Albert Einstein's Special Theory that implies that space and time are not mutually exclusive, but rather relative to one another. According to said theory, it can be gathered that “as an object moves faster in relation to another object, its time in relation to that object slows down.” It's a complex method of perception, as abstractly depicted through Johnson's portfolio.

Jay Mark Johnson website
via [Slate, Lebbeus Woods]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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