With technology moving as fast as it does today, it’s easy to feel like we’re discovering things for the first time. That is, until you get a reality (or history) check and discover that no, you are not the first person to experiment with long exposure photography. This collection of historical photo experiments by Harold Edgerton, assembled by Alec Shao, is a nice reminder that creative experimentation with new technology has a long and vibrant tradition.
Edgerton developed this style of photography using the stroboscope, which you might know as the strobe light. Before it became a mainstay item at Spencer’s Gifts, Edgerton used the strobe in conjunction with his camera’s flash to capture entire ranges of motion being performed by his subjects. Initially, he used the technique to capture momentary stills of functioning electric motors in order to examine them. It’s clear why this practical use of technology led to all sorts of artistic experimentation. I mean, look how awesome these are.
Gus Solomons, 1960
Indian Club Demonstration, 1965
Back Dive, 1954
Tennis Player, 1938
The Golfer, 1960