Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Closure of Photography

While musing several years ago on these issues of the mathematically finite precision of the digital image, I happened upon the idea of the Pixellator Camera, a simple box camera using a projection screen and pixellation grid immediately in front of the film, which transcribes the indeterminate complexity of an analog projected image into a grid of pixel squares of varying degrees of grayness. The lens for this camera is a large pinhole, approximate in size to the pitch of the pixel grid. Silver gelatin paper negatives were employed in the creation of the self-portrait accompanying this article.

Details of one pixel grid cell:


Anonymous Olivander said...

So what you're saying is that an infinite number of monkeys with Canon Sureshots will eventually reproduce the complete works of Ansel Adams. However, thanks to Flickr we know that this is not true. ;-)

What did you use for the pixel grid? Window screening?

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Gregg Kemp said...

I have long believed and practiced that the less well defined an image is, the more the viewer fills in with their visual experiences. I think that's related to what you're saying here, unless I've misunderstood. Either way, this sure gives feeds my thoughts.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Strikethru said...

Fascinating post. And I am not even a photography buff.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Joe V said...

Olivander: I used a black plastic mesh grid, of the sort available at craft stores for decorating with yarn. About a 1/8" grid pitch.

I also bought a large gridded fluorescent lighting diffuser, in the hopes of doing some ultra-large format grid cam work, but haven't yet finished that project.

In the interest of full disclosure, I penned this essay in fountain pen first (I seem to write best by hand,) then transcribed to type via my Underwood.


11:59 PM  
Blogger Monda said...

That's absolutely beautiful. And so is the photograph.

6:50 PM  
Blogger deek said...

Hmmm...quite an interesting perspective.

So, to take it one step further, you could say that by using a digital camera, having a finite quantity of unique images, you could actually photograph everything in existence, by randomly changing each pixel variable and viewing the end result.

And you wouldn't even have to leave the house...

6:39 AM  

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