Sunday, November 14, 2010

Slit Scan Photography

One interesting type of experimental photography is slit scan photography.  This was traditionally done with standard film photography and constant exposure to the film.  A similar process can be done with a long exposure on a DSLR.

A standard camera shutter generally operates in quick, precise speeds during opening and closing.  Even though the shutter may remain open for a long time during an exposure, it rapidly shuts once the the shot is finished with even closure. This shutter can close in different directions and if slowed, can induce different effects on the shot.

Slit scan photography utilizes a "slow slit shutter" to emulate a scan.  A small slit is made in a mask that slides directly in front of the camera.  This slit moves slowly across the camera's lens during a long exposure.  Because only a certain part of the picture is being exposed at one time, moving subjects will appear very distorted.  In the top image, the left individual moved backwords a step while the slit exposed the center part of his body.  Afterwords, he apparently stepped back.  The right individual simply kept his fist extended the entire time.  If the subject moves at a speed matching the exposed area of the slit, the result is an elongated form.  This makes humans interesting subjects.  The  image below is an example of a slit scan box.

Other interesting effects can be made with a slit scan photography.  The slit can be traveling horizontal, vertical or in an obtuse fashion.  I would personally like to try utilizing different shapes and multiple overlapping slits.  The image below utilizes a turning pedestal the subject was placed on.  The seamless qualities of the image are fascinating. 

Stay curious,

Slit Scan Photography Resource

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