Assignment 1: One Hour Photo

On a sunny day in August 2019 I chose a nondescript area of the front street of my local town, Stanley, Co. Durham, and set my camera to photograph the same scene at regular intervals for one hour. Over this time I did not intervene with the picture making process – each of the 640 photographs made rely completely on randomness and chance. From these raw materials, two sets of triptychs are presented – the first uses digital techniques to place figures into the imaginary landscape and the second uses traditional cut and paste techniques bringing ten individual ‘slices’ of images together.

The idea for the series initiated from thoughts about how street photography, and the notion of the decisive moment, could be subverted and challenged. The final images are both accurate and truthful records of reality at a particular moment and works of wholly constructed fiction. While the digital compositions are less evidently constructed, they also have an uneasy sense of hyperreality while the cut and paste images seem more realistic despite foregrounding the way they are brought together physically. Together, the two sets allow consideration and contemplation of photographs relationship to memory, reality and imagination.

The complex relationship between photography and indexical truth is demonstrated in ‘One Hour Photo’ – the final composites could not exist without my intervention and yet they are completely made from the raw images collected over that one hour. Multiple combinations are possible, and yet, the six composites are my final – albeit completely subjective – interpretations. My judgements were driven by instinct and it is unlikely someone else would make the same choices meaning multiple narratives are possible from the same source material.