Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Act of Passing By

I was able to immediately draw an idea from this passage in De Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life: “It is true that the operations of walking on can be traced on city maps in such a way as to transcribe their paths and their trajectories. But these thick or thin curves only refer, like words, to the absence of what has passed by. Surveys of routes miss what was: the act itself of passing by” (97).

We often do not notice how many things we casually glance at as we are walking from point A to point B, especially in familiar places. My goal was to capture the feeling of those quick glances by randomly taking photographs around me while walking, without even looking through the viewfinder. I occasionally arbitrarily zoomed in or out and the camera was on autofocus, but those were the only ways I manipulated the images. I felt a little bit creepy at times, since many of these pictures included unsuspecting people, either passing by or engaging in nice-weekend-day activities. I didn't look at the pictures until I was done, and a lot of what I had photographed was the tops of buildings with the vast blue sky overhead.

This project reminds of a mix between my previous projects, I Can See Ahead of Me (a sped-up video of my travels across campus) and This Is Happening (photos taken at random and paired together). Both of these projects can be viewed on this blog.

You can view this haphazard series of photos on my flickr.

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