October 2011

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London to Paris in 1 fpm

Having acquired the Ricoh CX4 to test its functionality and performance I took it on a workshop I was conducting in Paris. Not one who likes to waste time I concocted a small experiment on the Eurostar to test on a practical level the camera and on a more philosophical level the role of being a photographer in these clever digital times. I suspect this experiment could have been done with film, with more than one camera, missing shots as I changed backs. And of course there would be the weight and cumbersome set up – plus I’d have to pay for more than one seat in order to work effectively … but with the light compact nature of the CX4 and its functions that brought me to a medium format Mamiya-esque 6×6 aesthetic – well this was a heck of a lot easier to do. The process was simple enough – tape the camera to a fixed point on the glass of a window seat, after setting the camera to black and white and square format, and then time out 60 sec along the journey and let the camera capture what the camera captures. As the speed of the train increases and the auto settings adjust for the lighting I took what came – what was produced by time, light, location and automation. There is no photography here other than that of the automatic functionality of the camera. My role as a photographer is simply to press the shutter on the 60th second. Not looking, not adjusting to compose for one thing or another – but to let the democracy of the elements of the moment dictate an image. Below is a small sample of the images produced. There are images that are surprises, others serve as aesthetic enjoyments and finally images that I could do without but remain there, embedded in the time flow, that read like conjunctions in a sentence, providing as much an importance in their role as the story itself.