I love living in New York City, and I am constantly walking around exploring new areas that I’ve never seen. In my 10 years here, I am still discovering new areas. One thing I’ve noticed, in almost everywhere I go, is the amazing street art/graffiti that covers the streets. I’m not talking about the traditional spay painted “tagging” graffiti, but these pieces of art work that scatter the scafoldings, walks, traffic posts, etc.
Throughout the summer I had been taking pictures of the really cool pieces that I would come across. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with them, but I wanted to start keeping a record of what I was seeing.
It finally occurred to me that these pieces would lend themselves so perfectly to animation. I decided to do a test animation so I could develop a process. I chose to animate a flying bird that had a scroll in its feet. My thoughts were that the bird would fly in and then the scroll would unravel.
First I had to bring the photograph into photoshop and remove the bird from the brick wall background. Then I broke the bird apart, separating it into the two wings, an open and closed eye, the two parts of the beak, the body, and the scroll. Once this tedious process was complete, I brought it into After Effects, and just did a simple animation to it. I think that this is a great idea, and some of the images I took would be perfect for this. I am excited to try to do some of the other ones.
I am fascinated with movement. This is probably why I am so drawn to the creation of dances, constantly developing new movement vocabularies and exploring the different types of physicality I can achieve with my body. But movement is fleeting. They occur within the briefest second, and then disappears into the next. One of the questions I continuously find myself asking, is if there is some way to document the history of our movements.
I was initially inspired by the photography of of Tom Carvaglia, who has experiemented with different types of photographic techniques to achieve a trail of movement. Last summer during bootcamp, he inspired me to investigated ways in which I could achieve this effect with a processing sketch. The outcome was extremely unexpected but surprisingly beautiful. Below are several examples of those experiments using my iphone as light in a dark room with my processing sketch.
This time around I wanted to see if I could achieve a more “photo-realistic” effect by using my camera. I tried several different combinations of aperture and shutter speed settings. I found that a slower shutter speed would give me more of a trail with the movement, but I lost some of the crispness of the subject. I decided the best way to figure out what the best setting was, would be to go out and experiment. One of my closest friends Molly and I went out into Williamsburg and shot dance phrases in several different locations. I personally love the industrial grunge aesthetic, and felt it would be an interesting contrast with the blurs of the movement.
After taking about 1,000 photographs, I brought certain sequences into photoshop and overlaid them on one another. Below are my final composites: