Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sandi Dooley Reviews Laurent Baillet, #10

Laurent Baillet does long time exposures in the street, with the purpose of showing that "the reality we can see is conditioned by how we perceive the flow of time". He focuses on the ability of photography to condense time into a single image, and calls his images "Chronographies".

In Number 8 in The Crowded? series, made in Madrid, one can see the mad rush of ghosts of people in a busy, crowded street  If the people were standing still, the photograph would not have the same effect. One gets the impression that a huge mass moved by, and moved on. We don't know how long the exposures were for (i.e. how many lights), and there may have been multiple groups of people moving through that space. Any time they stood still, waiting for the light, we actually see bodies, but just as if we were actually there, we don't usually remember individuals, only groups waiting and moving on.

Number 4 in the Ending series, made in Berlin, shows people converging on a narrow bridge and spreading out as they move forward towards the camera. After seeing people exit train stations after each train arrives, this image gives an accurate representation of what a wave of people pouring out of a building and moving through a narrowed area looks like. It is like they are pouring out of a huge container into the street. That is what we see in real life as well, not individuals, but movement. Single shots do not capture that effectively.

I thought it was interesting that Baillet started photography as a hobby, and that it gradually turned into a job for him. He was working in marketing in a company, after studying art and painting and began by taking pictures of French bands, traveling and developing his own work. (Republic X Art Magazine, March 2013 Issue 4)

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