February 27, 2007
The 66" negative
AutoWeek has the interesting story of how photographer Rick Graves uses a modified, motorized camera back which feeds a continuous roll of film past the shutter while it’s open, creating a very wide negative (like this one; scroll it to the right):
"Each image Graves makes is from one exposure on an entire roll of film, not a composite of several different images.
"’A number of people have tried to build this type of camera,’ Graves said, likening it to the finish-line cameras used at horse races. ‘But the difference with my camera is that I have 66 inches of movement [of the film] in one second. The film is moving relative to the moving subject. I developed this camera as a better way to capture motion.’
"The secret to the system is not the camera itself—a standard 500 Series Hasselblad—but in the film back, which contains a small motor and various electronics adapted from the robotics industry. This setup gives Graves control of how fast the film moves when he opens the shutter. If he gets it right, the film is moving at the same speed as the cars, allowing for a photo with dozens of speeding cars, all razor sharp."
NASCAR sells prints that are 4 inches tall by 8 feet long. Check out many more examples (not all automotive) in the DistaVision portfolio. One slight bummer is that because of the ubiquity of Photoshop-edited composites in the world, a lot of viewers may think these works are simply digital collages. [Via Joe Ault]