Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stills and Video

My other blog, New York Portraits, turns one today, and I've been thinking about the significant differences between still and moving images.

As with color and black and white photography, there is a tendency for people to think one is a limited form. Technical limitations meant photographers could produce black-and-white imagery before color was possible, so it's easy for us to believe color photography is in some way a more advanced form. The fact, however, is that it simply works differently. Comprehending those differences can require a subtle and complicated visual literacy, but that's fine.

Similar ideas come up when we consider still versus video work, and we're now at the point where the two "compete" in the same arena: the Web. The early Web could support still images, but not video, and now for most people either will work fine. So the question arises: what does each form do well, and why wouldn't I simply want video for everything?


Mark Schoneveld said...

I will say this... a photograph is much easier to consume. Video takes a lot of time. And one gets easily distracted and might miss the finer moments, whereas a photograph makes one impression and makes it quickly. I like that.

Maybe that's an argument for finding your best thumbnail for your videos!?

Ted Fisher said...

That's a good point.

I think one extension of that idea is that if you were thinking back on an amazing moment from your life, you would tend to experience it the way a photograph is experienced -- a frozen web of relationships, a tension in balance.

Even a short video is a different sort of experience....

kingeroo said...

i think video forces a narrower experience and photographs offer a broader interpretation... both are powerful when used in the correct manner. unfortunately, lots of the "web video" unleashed today is of the eye candy variety with little or no relevance or context. perhaps that will change.