Time is a Dimension

 

Sunset at the Esplanade, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

Photography is a medium that is famous for freezing time. The word snapshot suggests that a tiny slice of time is recorded for posterity.

But we do know that time is also a dimension, like length, breadth and width. In fact, physicists have a model called space-time: suggesting that time is part of a continuum with the 3 dimensions that we are familiar with.

A photographic print is flat, and essentially is made of 2 dimensions: length and width. Yet through composition and lens focus we give a print depth, which is a dimension that is perceived but not physically part of the photographic print. Great photographs (and great paintings) give information in all three dimensions. The best images are the ones which let you feel like you can step directly into the frame into a world which is on the other side.

 

Sunset over Parisian Alley, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunset at the Seine River, 2014. All Rights Reserved.


 

 

But the print is still an instance. Most paintings and photographs are an instance of time. That’s not the way the world works. We experience a sequence of time, and that’s why a video is somehow more compelling than a freeze frame.

I work in the confines of a photographic print, because I like to do so. But in a way, I wanted to break out of this restriction of a single slice of time in photography.

Photographic prints are great because they don’t need power to be displayed. They are more or less permanent. Videos are great because they record a sequence of time which shows reality almost like how we experience. Is it possible to combine the two? And not via long exposure photography where often details are lost from motion.

So I played around with the tools of digital photography and post processing to give you this series: Time is a dimension.

 

Oriental Pearl Tower Sunset, 2014. All Rights Reserved.


 

This series of images are mostly landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes, and they are a single composite made from sequences that span 2-4 hours, mostly of sunrises and sunsets.

The basic structure of a landscape is present in every piece. But each panel or concentric layer shows a different slice of time, which is related to the adjacent panel/layer. The transition from daytime to night is gradual and noticeable in every piece, but would not be something you expect to see in a still image.

 

HDB Rainbow Sunset, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Sunset at Upper Seletar Reservoir, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Similarly, our experience of a scene is more than a snapshot. We often remember a sequence of events rather than a still frame full of details. In this series, I strive to capture both details and also a sequence of time in a single 2 dimensional canvas. I hope it gives you pause and reconsider what you experience versus what you shoot with your next camera phone.
 

If you happen to find these cool, and are a curator/project manager-

I think it will be interesting to show actual prints (up to 1 meter lengthwise) in an installation. Or perhaps a collaboration on archiecture/scenery!

 

Golden Mile Complex Sunset, 2014. All Rights Reserved.


 

Seen on This is Colossal, Slate.com, Wired.comIl Post, Yahoo, UK Daily Mail, Scientific American, Petapixel, Gizmodo, io9, Slow Art Day (tumblr), Hyperallergic (tumblr), gooood.hk, Architizer, MyModernMet, InventorSpot, Xinhuanet, LA Times, Huanqiu, MSN UK and much more!

 Own a Time Painting!

 

Sunset at East Coast Park, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Sunset at East Coast Park, 2014. All Rights Reserved.


 

Shanghai Freeway Sunrise, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunset at the Bund, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

Glassy Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Solo Tree Sunrise, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

East Coast Moonrise, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

Bintan Beach Sunrise, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Bougainvillea Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Cable Cars Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Potong Pasir Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Crossandra Orange, Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Ophir Road Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Construction of National Stadium (Sunset), 2013. All Right Reserved

 

Swan Lake Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tiong Bahru HDB Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

View from hotel in Raleigh at Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved

 

Pearls Centre Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Pavilion Sunset 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

National Day Preview 01, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

National Day Preview 02, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Heliconia Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Kite Flying at West Coast (Sunset), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Changi Beach Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Changi Beach Sunrise 02, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Chinatown Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Bali Rock Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved

 

Tiong Bahru Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

HDB Sunset 01, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Heartlands Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Marina Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Fullerton Bay Hotel Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Raindrop Ripples, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Singapore Skyline Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Rochor Centre Sunrise, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

I know retro effects are all the craze nowadays, with filters and light leaks etc. But in this case we have light leaks… across time. How about that!

 

168 Comments Time is a Dimension

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  11. Leander Urmy

    Very unique and interesting idea, not mention beautiful too. I have done time lapsed images that I compressed into a single image, but your ideas and skills leave me wanting more. Thank you for sharing!
    Lee

    Reply
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  34. Paul Parkinson LRPS (@parkylondon)

    I think these are simply sublime and would love to get to know how you did it. If you could do a tutorial video or a step by step I think it would be incredibly popular. Many thanks for sharing, it really made my day seeing these.

    Reply
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  40. Tiago

    Have you known this software: http://timeshot.inevo.pt/ ?

    I had the idea for this type of photography some years ago and decided to do an app that would allow it easily and with gradients between photos.
    Take a look it might interest you.

    Your images are really great. Unfortunately, even by having an app that make the process a lot easier I wasn’t able to create something even close with what you did :)
    Great job.

    Reply
  41. Pingback: Week in Review: August 9, 2013 | Jeff Rivers

  42. David

    beautiful work you have there! despite my insane schedule, i just had to stop and soak in your work for a while, and i have to say it’s really reinvigorated me – time well spent! =)

    Reply
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  96. Jabi

    I really just chanced upon your website, but I love every one of your series. It was really interesting to see familiar places and familiar things through your lens. Needless to say, I’m now a fan of your work.

    Reply
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  130. ibizaman

    This is one of the first time I see an irrefutable proof that digital photography is an evolution over “traditional” photography. Just amazing!

    Reply
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  141. Joe

    Very nice! have been trying to find images like this for a while and there arent many photograpers doing it! i need to do a simular sort of effect for a photography A-Level. A tutorial would be very popular and useful for me as i need to has prints as well as the videos!

    Reply
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