We're all like, worms, man! Everything that's ever existed on earth, just one big connected worm!
October 15, 2012 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Jay Mark Johnson takes two dimensional photographs, like just about everyone else. But he's chosen an unusual pair of dimensions: One in space, and one in time. Slate article, artist's webpage.
posted by kaibutsu (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
To try it yourself, these kinds of pics are traditionally taken using a flatbed scanner (and lens).
posted by anonymisc at 3:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pretty! This one feels like a Dali painting.
posted by Avelwood at 3:13 PM on October 15, 2012

beautiful!...kinda reminds me of the early work of Jason Salavon...
and seconding "If you have a scanner, please try this at home"...it's tons of fun! I seem to recall a post on some silly website or another about trying this with your cat... ;P
posted by sexyrobot at 3:18 PM on October 15, 2012

Hmm. Rule 34? Seems an obvious application....

Ah, I see -- found some. To actually view it (it's definitely SFW), go here, and click on the colored bars to scroll down -- it's near the bottom of the list. There are four stills and a short clip.
posted by dhartung at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2012

Isn't this very close to how photo finishes are done at the races?
posted by darksasami at 3:58 PM on October 15, 2012

Darksasami, I was posting to say the same thing. Cycling coverage almost always has the finish line photo that is made in a way similar (i guess) to this.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2012

I really like the horse image the Slate article leads with. There must be a lot of art in choosing the scan rate to get a comprehensible image.

It should be feasible to mockup something like this by just processing a video file. Anyone seen software to do that?
posted by Nelson at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2012

That seems almost like something one could do from the command line. Use ffmpeg or vlc or something to grab frames, imagemagick to cut out a (say) one pixel wide slice of each frame, and then imagemagick again to concatenate all of the slices back together into an image. If it weren't so late at night I would probably just write the code...
posted by kaibutsu at 4:40 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Golan Levin has an extensive roundup of other slit-scan artworks here.
posted by j3nn1f3r at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

j3nn1f3r, that link was the subject of an old post of mine. Glad to see it's still working!
posted by carsonb at 5:16 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

He stepped up to one of the reporters. "Suppose we take you as an example. Your name is Rogers, is it not? Very well, Rogers, you are a space-time event having duration four ways. You are not quite six feet tall, you are about twenty inches wide and perhaps ten inches thick. In time, there stretches behind you more of this space-time event, reaching to, perhaps, 1905, of which we see a cross section here at right angles to the time axis, and as thick as the present. At the far end is a baby, smelling of sour milk and drooling its breakfast on its bib. At the other end lies, perhaps, an old man some place in the 1980s. Imagine this space-time event, which we call Rogers, as a long pink worm, continuous through the years. It stretches past us here in 1939, and the cross section we see appears as a single, discrete body. But that is illusion. There is physical continuity to this pink worm, enduring through the years. As a matter of fact, there is physical continuity in this concept to the entire race, for these pink worms branch off from other pink worms. In this fashion the race is like a vine whose branches intertwine and send out shoots. Only by taking a cross section of the vine would we fall into the error of believing that the shootlets were discrete individuals."
-- Heinlein -- Life-line
posted by empath at 5:18 PM on October 15, 2012 [9 favorites]

This can be done nicely in post using motion footage. It is especially interesting with certain types of time-lapse footage.

I built a demo app in 2006 that used once-per-minute time-lapse security footage and could show a person an entire 24-hour cycle in one still frame that was 1440 pixels wide and looked much as these photos look. Each minute was composited as a one-pixel wide column with time spanning from left to right and a time "ribbon" at the bottom. The extreme left side was midnight and the center of the image was noon and the extreme right side was midnight again.

The UI allowed a person to browse quickly through time by clicking anywhere on the image and the system responding by showing the whole frame from that minute. The user could, sort of, "comb" across the image to see a frame from a specific time very quickly.

It was not an especially well-received demo but I thought it was cool.
posted by bz at 7:10 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

*tries to come up with one-dimensional-space joke, fails*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:44 PM on October 15, 2012

Vaguely related game.
posted by Jpfed at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2012

This can also be more or less done on your phone. Android app. iPhone app. I just discovered this the other day, and am having fun trying things out. The main problem is that it's hard to hold a phone steady over time, so the images tend to come out wavy.
posted by Zarkonnen at 10:37 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been playing a little with a processing script that essentially turns video 90 degrees into the time dimension.

If you'll pardon the self-links, this is a highway, this is my face.

I did it with this guy's processing script. It may have been linked from Metafilter before, and that's how I found it.

The mechanical slit-scan camera Jay Mark Johnson's using will be capable of better resolution than the processed video. Unless you shoot slow-motion, your video will get only 30 pixels per second, that means an HD 1080px image will require 36 seconds of footage.
posted by RobotHero at 10:55 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stavros, I don't see your point. Wonderful post Kaibutsu, thanx!
posted by ouke at 1:07 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

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