The Art of Condensing Whole Movies Into Single Photographs

Maisie Skidmore, AnOther, May 4, 2016

A Turner-esque wash of reds and blues; ghostly shadows marking the spot where protagonists once stood; the eerie serenity of a cartoon frozen in uncomfortably vivid hues: London-based artist Jason Shulman’s newest body of work, a series of long-exposure photographs capturing entire films, makes for oddly irresistible viewing. Interestingly, it came about after an unexpectedly successful experiment. “I set up my camera in front of my computer and pointed it at a movie, expecting that, if you expose the negative for an hour and a half with a film in front of it, you’d get a bit like what you get when you mix balls of Play-Doh together – just a brown monotone hue,” he explains of the body of work, which due to go on display next week in an exhibition entitled Photographs of Films at London's Cob Gallery. “So I was very surprised when in fact these kinds of rather interesting translations of films started occurring.” It was a pleasant shock for Shulman, who went on to spend a month in his darkroom photographing a whole series of cinematic masterpieces, from 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey through to 1940 Disney animation Fantasia.