Sam Taylor-Johnson ‘five revolutionary seconds’


Sam Taylor-Johnson uses a panoramic camera to take a full 360 degree image of an interior during a five second exposure. This creates long images creating a story shown within, to view the whole image in this series the viewer was forced to walk alongside it, I feel this series of work plays between the notion of fact and fiction. Sam Taylor-Johnson is a photographer and film maker whose panorama combines elements of the still and moving image.

Unlike with a traditional sized and shaped photograph this piece of work encourages the viewer to search for a full story that would connect the people that appear in it. These people in her images who were often actors, models and friends, appear to exist in their own time and space, expressing a range of charged states from melancholy to decadence to violence and alienation, only to be frustrated in this desire.

In may of her works Sam Taylor-Johnson examines ‘ who we are and how we work through our identity, how we perceive ourselves in the world ‘ she never uses straight forward portraiture, her work exists with psychological and often physical tension, with subjects frequently caught in the middle of ambiguous scenarios or in heightened emotional states.

Alongside the image loudspeakers play ambient noise recorded at the time the photograph was taken, adding sound to the vast space pictured in the panorama, the presence of a soundtrack further ties these photographs to the world of movies. By means of its scale, audio effects and staged ambience the work suggests qualities associated with film but unlike conventional movies which evolve and conclude this piece remains intentionally unresolved.

She said in an interview with Andrew Suggs online that she feels within five revolutionary seconds when you look at the images you’re constructing your own narrative rather than one thats being dictated to you, so its left very open-ended. You come away with a narrative the way you want to construct it; they’re like dysfunctional narratives. Ones that you try to piece together but they cant really work. Looking at my work this is something I want to create, images that when juxtaposed together the audience want to piece them together to create their own narratives as it’s quite ambiguous as to what is going on.

So far in my own work I’ve taken images that have been altered to create a sense of mystery in them as to what is happening but with a concept examining the idea  of constructing dream through memory sequence. I want to put these images together in a way where they can almost create a movie sequence like what is played in a dream to someone. Like Sam Taylor-Johnson the idea of creating panoramic images forces the viewer to make connections between them and creates a flow. This is something I want to look at creating , a flowing connection between the images. In photoshop I want to look at merging the still images to make panoramic images , from this I can look at a way of joining them.

The whole idea behind Taylor-Johnson’s work is to look at the idea of narrative. When look at her work its like looking in to the middle of a scene , when having a story you normally have a beginning middle and end this creates a narrative. In photographs this is hard to put across however Taylor-Johnson creates this sensation this is exactly what I would like in my work, the idea of a destructed narrative. Although you are presented with a narrative the viewers try and piece together the singular elements.

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