Plexiglass, plaster, digital projection. Time Variable.
On view at the Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh PA, until May 22.
One of the subjects that appears again and again in my own photography is the sky. It is no doubt a classic subject for many photographers. The sky is of course always present and available to photograph, but is not necessarily always a compelling subject- so when does the sky become worth capturing? What are the qualities of the sky that transform it from a granted element of our everyday environment, into a moving and even sublime subject for a photograph?
To answer these questions and more, I looked to Flickr and my own image archive.
Using the Openframeworks add-on ofxFlickr, by Brett Renfer, I was able to scrape thousands of images of skies from the Flickr community. Arranged in a grid based on the order in which I downloaded them (third image), they already reveal some information about the way the sky is photographed.
Seeking a greater sense of order in the images, I chose to sort using t-SNE, or t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding. For this, I used the ofxTSNE add on by Gene Kogan. The sorted image itself is compelling, but can also better reveal the trends and variation within the dataset.
Now with some kind of organization, trends within the dataset start to emerge. Night skies are popular, but specialized (often requiring equipment like tripods, high ISO capable sensors); there are distinct categories here- auroras, the milky way, and lightning were the most dominant. Sunsets and sunrises dominate the top edge of the collage- this is a time when the sky is predictably interesting, so their high representation seems logical. The photographers here are clearly not shy about bumping up the colors in these images either.
Rainbows have a small but still notable presence; this is a compelling sky event, but is less predictable. Gray, stormy skies also make up a large portion of the image. The cloud formations here seem to be an attractive subject, but have less representation in the image set— perhaps because it isn’t always pleasant or feasible to go out and make images in a storm.
The largest sections, represented in the right side of the collage, show mostly blue skies with medium and large cloud formations. What varies between these two sections is how they are edited; I saw a distinct divide between images that were processed to be much more contrasty, and those that were less altered.
Even within the “calmer” images, where no large cloud features were present, there was a large variation in color. It’s safe to say that many of the more vibrant images here were also edited for increased saturation.
Applying this same process to my own images (albeit a more limited set; I took these ~200 images over the span of a few weeks from my window in Amsterdam) also allows me to compare my habits as a photographer to the Flickr community at large. I generally prefer not to edit my photos heavily, and leave the colors closer to how my camera originally captured them- Flickr users clearly have no problems with bumping up the vibrancy and saturation of their skies to supernatural levels.
Using a Kinect V2 and Scatter's DepthKit software, I experimented with underwater RGBD (RGB + Depth) video. Could I capture a 3D image of a bubble, or exhaling underwater?
The challenges of underwater sensing and capture are myriad; after overcoming some issues with water's high absorption of infrared light, the difficulty of housing a tethered sensor underwater, and syncing the color image with the depth image, I successfully captured a few small (but captivating) underwater events.
More info on Professor Golan Levin's class blog.
What happens when a traditional slitscanning effect is reimagined, in a different dimension, and in stereo?
Video, taken as a volume, is traditionally viewed along the X/Y plane where TIME acts as the Z dimension; every frame of the video is a step back in the Z dimension. But if the video is volumetric, we do not necessarily have to view it straight from the "front" along the X/Y plane. How does a video appear when viewed along a different plane ? Here I explore a sterographic video volume as viewed from the TOP, that is, along the X/TIME plane.
Filmed using the Sony Bloggie 3D camera, for display in Google Cardboard.
Dolomite, Memory of a Landscape, is a series of works that seeks to explore a space through memory. Sourced from a brief visit to the mountains of northern Italy, the prints depict spaces and landscapes that may at first be convincing—however upon further inspection they contain layers of impossibilities. Through these, I ask, can memory be trusted? How much can a memory, or an image in the mind's eye, change before it becomes untrue? Our brains are not perfect recording machines, so it is natural that some information becomes lost over time. Yet the brain also has the incredible tendency to embellish and fill in detail in our memories. The memory may shift, evolve, gain and lose detail until it becomes something entirely new. This is what I experienced in Italy—my memory of the place is so much grander than any straight, un-doctored depiction could ever hope to match. So it is my hypothesis here that through reconstruction of these spaces, compositing and rearranging as memory dictates, I have created images that are in a sense more true.
“Memory is a constructive process allowing us to remember our past, as well as allowing us to think about the future. Kaitlin’s project has captured this beautifully, creating pieces that are more akin to our memory than to the veridical environment. By melding multiple photographs into one piece it demonstrates both how memories can generalize and connect across episodes and highlight the aspects that make the current episode unique.”
-Dr Elisa Aminoff
Research Scientist, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC)
Freestyle drone flying and racing is a growing sport and hobby. Combining aspects of more traditional RC aircraft hobbies, videography, DIY electronics and even Star Wars Pod Racing (according to some), drone pilots use first person view controls to create creative and acrobatic explorations of architecture. My brother, Johnny FPV, is increasingly successful in this new sport.
For this capture experiment, I used Johnny’s drone footage as a window into Miami’s architecture. By extracting video frames from his footage, I was able to photogrammetrically produce models of the very architecture he was flying around. While position-locked footage from videography drones such as the DJI Phantom has been shown to create realistic 3d models, the frenetic nature of my footage produced a very different result.
An exploration of the charts used to calibrate different optical systems - from analog aerial surveillance cameras, to human eyes.
What happens when photography is no longer assumed to be a reliable method of reproducing reality? Can the photographic image, without manipulation in post production, become a representation of a fantasy world?
In capturing a digital image, there are countless veils of complications between the physical world and the image which the camera records. From the optical distortions characteristic of the chosen lens to the way the sensor records different wavelengths as color, the act of taking a photograph is not so much an act of recording reality, but instead taking an imprecise and unreliable mold of reality.
This series of images seeks to in some small way, display that veil of confusion between the real world and the fantasy that a photographic image provides.
Produced in collaboration with Boris Eldagsen, Summer 2016
Experiments in darkroom printmaking.
2D works including drawings, paintings, photograms, and multimedia images.
Given the current saturation of images in the world today, I find it hard to imagine that my photographs are entirely unique. They might not literally be the same as anything that currently exists, but in idea, spirit, or motive, someone somewhere has probably done it before. In “From Here to Eternity Beach” I attempt to tell a story that does not at all rely on my own camera or point of view. I want to present a story that is a bit more universal, and one that I can draw upon the collected images of others to tell. With ocean and beach scenes, in photographs taken over the span of many decades from countless unknown locations, I draw on a collective memory of the sea. These images come from an era where cameras were not so universal as they are today. Thus, there is a certain intentionality behind every image— the photographer wanted to capture and preserve this moment, this feeling, this place. Through these, then, I felt that I could access the feeling of the sea. I could tell the story I wanted to tell, through the eyes of people I will never know. It was a good feeling, but there was still something off about the story- a distance that I could begin to, but not entirely, close. This is the reason I have interspersed the work with the full bleed collage pages. By literally moving away from the landscape, taking advantage of one of the most zoomed-out views we can take of this earth, I create pauses and breaks. The found images are distant in terms of their placement in time, and the collages are distant in terms of view and format.