The Transient Landscape: Photographs by Ansen Seale

FL!GHT Gallery

September 1, 2016 7:00 pm - September 26, 2016 11:00 pm

Opening Reception Thursday, September 1, 2016 7pm-11pm

“The map is not the territory.” Alfred Korzybski


According to artist, photographer Ansen Seale, it is only by the elimination of information that a map, or any other abstraction, gains it’s utility. The same thing goes for photographs: Less is more. Sometimes, by the elimination of information, we gain a more complete understanding of the reality around us.

Seale’s Transient Landscape is a series of photographs exploring landscapes and cityscapes with the use of the special digital camera of his own invention. The camera takes thousands of vertical image slices in rapid succession. This technique produces many strange time-based effects, including the absence of perspective and the extreme compression or expansion of objects based on their spatial relationship to the camera and its operator. Seale’s camera challenges the traditional notion of a 2-dimensional representation of the world, substituting the dimension of time for the horizontal dimension.

Moving by train, boat, car, airplane or foot, various forms of locomotion transport the artist and his camera to scan the landscapes. The result is a view of reality which is pure photography – not manipulated, but with an inescapable visual twist based on a changed set of rules.

Artist Statement: Rather than suspending a single moment, my photography examines the passage of time. To accomplish this, I invented a modern digital version of the panoramic camera. In my version, a single sliver of space is imaged over an extended period of time, yielding the surprising result that unmoving objects are blurred and moving bodies are rendered clearly. The model in the studio must move in order to be captured. In the Water series, the stones in the river do not move, and so, become stripes. The water flowing past them perturbs their static image, creating a kind of color field painting. This is no trick. This is photography in the purist sense, but a form of photography where abstraction is the norm, not the exception.

Instead of mirroring the world as we know it, I believe this camera records a hidden reality. Like a microscope or telescope, the machine expands our ability to perceive more about the nature of reality. The apparent “distortions” in the images all happen in-camera. So, when the real world is this beautifully bizarre, manipulation is unnecessary.

I tease out this unusual reality lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday visual experience in the same way the cubist painters created dynamic tension by exploiting the interplay between what the viewer expects and what she gets. As photography is traditionally the rendering of real-world objects in two dimensions, that same creative tension arises in my work because, in effect, it discards the horizontal dimension and substitutes for it the fourth dimension, time.