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Photography in Film and Video
Stephen Gordon
Photography in Film and Video
In film, the moving image is essentially an illusion of movement created by the relation between single still images.

By contrast, the strength of the photographic still image lies in its immobility. Yet this stillness does not simply correspond to the absence of movement. On the contrary, I would say that it is an intensification of movement: the still image grasps movement in variation. It may be argued that video artists, experimental filmmakers and cine-photographers use still images in film to highlight the intersection between stillness and motion.

Thus, the use of still images in moving image film and video is not simply to be understood in terms of opposition. Rather, there is continuity between them that lies in the dynamics of movement itself. If we look closer at the mechanics of film, it becomes clear that the freezing/stopping of the image entails the very way movement propagates itself. The arrest of movement is not a non-movement but it is where movement unleashes its variations of speed. Only at each stoppage can movement be fully grasped. Each stoppage becomes the motor of acceleration, deceleration and variation of movement.

One example of this dynamics of movement in video can be found in John Smith's Worst Case Scenario (2004). The video looks down onto a busy Viennese crossing and continuously reminds us of the intersection between photography and film. These apparently unconnected fragments are reordered and manipulated to create a new movement: the movement of the still image.

Still from Worse Case Scenario by John Smith, 2001-3
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