My good friend and colleague Mike Lim has sent me a link to a blog about the artist Ignacio Torres. Torres' recent work 'Stellar' uses animated gifs to create a 3D image to 'heighten space and time'. He says "Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time." 

Ignacio Torres 

I actually enjoy the visual richness of his work, and the sparkly 'star-matter' in the frames (OK, he's using reflective confetti, but it's convincingly stellar to me) adds a conceptual and tonal / textual richness to the images. But I'm not sure that the movement adds anything to the idea - I understand the concept of the "visual metaphor" to connect space and time (yes, 3D suspensions like this do tackle both space and time themes) but the movement is so limited it doesn't really connect for me. But I really do appreciate the intent, the execution and the investigation of this artist. 

It highlights for me the importance of ensuring that an animated 'Time Slice' like this needs to be conceptually rigorous. I am really interested in how an image sequence like this can integrate with video and a broader movement exploration so that the suspension (or Bullet Time, as seen in the test shot of Adam Synnot in the previous post) changes the viewer's experience of the movement and allows time for an analysis or contemplation of the selected moment. It connects, too,  with how the photographer chooses a particular moment to capture (Cartier-Bresson's 'Decisive Moment') within the flow / unfolding of 'normal' time - and takes the viewer on that journey to some degree.

For more of Ignacio Torres' work, check out his website.


A summary so far: Pre-pre production on HLP

ADDED NOTE - The Human Locomotion Project, an exploration in contemporary movement of Eadwaerd Muybridge's movement studies of the 1880's, has a seperate section on this website - Please check the Human Locomotion Project Journal tab (left) to read the trials and tribulations of this quirky project (which is still in post production over 6 months after the shoot!) - and to see the draft edits.


Well, The Human Locomotion Project has been successful with some funding, but not all of what is required to make the project as awesome as I'd like. So today I'm starting a fundraising drive to kickstart the technology budget to start getting equipment together for the camera array.

So far we've done a test shoot with 6 cameras and a basic system to coordinate the cameras using a combination of software (we are trialing Breeze Systems' multi-camera remote capture software) and hardware specifically designed to allow us to synchronise the camera shutters, or indeed stagger them at specific periods. We set up the rig on a metal rod on C-stands, using Manfrotto Superclamps with a ball head to set the cameras on. It was pretty sturdy and the wheels on the C-stands were brilliant to allow up to move the rig to finesse the frame when it came to shooting. I wanted to test using flash with a simultaneous capture, and trial a variety of setups with both the timing of the camera shutters and the positioning of the cameras in relation to one another. On the day it proved a lot more tricky than we thought. These were the initial challenges (just being frank - although it was tricky it was a hoot!):

  • The cameras (we used Canon 5D Mark IIs), when positioned side by side, have a 16cm gap between the centre of the lenses - this is a massive 'multisteroebase' and limits the proximity to the subject to far distances (we calculated a minimum of 5 metres)
  • The Breeze software created huge issues for us. Sometime all cameras fired but mostly at least 2 or 3 of them went into a bizarre mode where they were waiting (forever it seemed) for 6 images to record. Or they didn't fire at all. The download time to the laptop was so slow that it was impossible to work with. We have been in contact with the software manufacturers and will try shorter USB leads and better hubs, as well as faster computers.
  • We abandoned using the software and manually set each camera up as we adjusted the settings. This was a nightmare as access to the cameras was difficult, but Des Berwick managed to handle the pressure really well and got it done.
  • By the time we got the cameras synchronised the dancer had to leave, so we just got a little bit of time to play - Lisa was amazing to work with and we managed to get a few interesting shots. It was impossible to see the results on anything but the camera LCD displays, so it was pretty exciting to review the images in Lightroom after the shoot to see what we got 'in the can'. I can see why getting something like the Breeze software working is absolutely critical for an effective workflow.

Besides all that it was a great day and really illuminating technically. We now have a solid plan for the changes we need to make, and are looking forward to another array trial in a couple of weeks' time. I have cut together a really ROUGH edit of footage taken on the day.

So - onto the finer details of the project now. Whilst trying t sort out the technical stuff as well as rigging solutions etc etc, I am in the process of initiating a drive for funding support. People can donate to the project via AbaF's Australia Cultural Fund, and their donation is tax deductible. I really hope people can support us and get behind the project. It feels really exciting for me as an artist to be exploring all new territory. This project is my first exploration of multiple camera capture and is just a PERFECT next step for me. It brings together all of my interests - photography, moving image and dance - and creates a new space for me to play in. We have secured a great big warehouse space to shoot the project in, so I am now looking into ideas for the 'staging' elements of how to use the space effectively. Lots to do!!

Here are a couple of the rough-cut outcomes:



I'm pretty happy with these outcomes, considering the challenges we had! But see below for how things can go wrong..

You can see from the shot above that if the focal lengths aren't all spot on the image wiggles like crazy. You can also see the inconsistency of the flash duration across the captures. I think it was a bit ambitious to think that flash would work effectively, but I did manage to get one reasonably consistent exposure across the array. Why it works sometimes and not others I'm not yet sure. But continuous lighting will be the plan for the main shoot anyway, as we'll be integrating with video. It's a bit annoying to look at the gifs (sorry) but they do at least illustrate some of the challenges involved. The top shot had a small gap between frames, whilst the lower image was synchronised. The cameras were all parallel, as opposed to being convergent. We didn't get to try that as we ran out of time.

So, LOTS to do and very quickly running out of time (and money).

If you are interested in supporting this project by donating some funds, you will be well acknowledged for your support. We'd really appreciate it!! You can find information about the project and how to donate here..

'till later,

Sam :)


The Human Locomotion Project

I am very excited that my new project, 'The Human Locomotion Project' has received funding from Arts SA. This means that I can confirm that I will be working with the incredible dancer Lisa Griffiths, and the wonderful choreographic facilitator Carol Wellman-Kelly, to develop a new series of moving-image work. The brilliant Cleland Jones is also on board to work as data wrangler and editor. The project will begin in August 2011. Peter Stanley is supporting the team as IT guru, and we are in the process of developing IT solutions to be able to do a series of test shoots in the coming weeks. The long term plan is that the development stage will create a clear and articulate vision for a final series to be produced and exhibited at Obscura Gallery (Melbourne) in 2012. 

Hopefully we receive funding from Australia Council as well, which will mean that dancer Adam Synnott will be able to join our team, and we will be commissioning an amazing set for the shoots. These brilliant elements, and some exciting high-end technologies, still need funding..but I am so committed to the ambitious objectives of this project that I'm sure this project will find a way to achieve it's potential...

I just can't wait to get my teeth stuck into something really ambitious. Yaaaaaay!



I am having an exhibition of a range of my work - I have never shown an eclectic range from a variety of bodies of work before, so I am really excited about selecting the highlights from my recent practice to show together. Here are the details::


showing a broad range of work highlighting the most enduring and significant of Sam Oster’s work over the past 7 years


experience contemporary art out of the white cube and in a comfortable bar environment; sip cocktails whilst contemplating landscape & narrative, electrical ethics & future archaeology..
or just sit back, chat and enjoy the relaxed urban vibe!
Dragonfly Bar & Dining
193 Victoria Square
Wednesday   10:30am-10:30pm
Thursday      10:30am-10:30pm
Friday           10:30am-late
Saturday       06:00pm-late
opening :: Thurs 28th April @ 6 - 8pm 
concludes :: Sat 4th June



Dynamic Portraits

I am planning a series of 'dynamic portraits' to explore the option of creating more interesting and engaging portraits for my arts-based clients. In exploring the process involved, I have created a quick piece using an image sequence shot a while ago of dancer Lisa Griffiths for a series of dancer portraits. The images were not shot with the intention of animating them, so in producing this animation I have had to problem-solve the lack of fluidity. 

I used Photoshop CS4 and created a layered file. Using the animation timeline in frame mode I have used the 'tween function to create the ghosting blur between frames as required. I would prefer not to use this function and to control the perception of movement using the shutter speed more carefully at the time of shooting. Sine this sequence wasn't planned for animation I guess the result is OK, but a lot more could be achieved with a carefully crafted sequence. 

I thought I'd post this test result as a way to start documenting the progress of this project.